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My Morning Run in Rural Pennsylvania


Wednesday, June 7
50 degrees F and cloudy, but no rain

Rolling in the dark, curious as to the time, I reach for my Fitbit watch, which has mysteriously made its way under, from on top of, the pillow next to me, over the course of the night.


It blinks back.

I calculate how much sleep that means I’ve had. A solid 8 hours of sleep. I blink in recognition of this achievement. It’s the first solid night’s sleep I’ve had in a week. I’ve been so torn up inside about my career choices lately that I’ve found it hard to not wake in the middle of the night and seek solace in mindless browsings of internet blogs.

I wonder if whether taking it easy last night, mentally:

  • while hauling up boxes of knick knacks and dishes from my grandparents’ basement into their garage, while listening to Ready Player One and
  • then listening to my grandma Joan detail the origins of every piece of china and crystal in her cabinet, while we wrapped and boxed these to be given to her daughter
grandma crystal china cabinet

Joan and her China Cabinet

are the cause of my full night’s rest. For a moment I think I ought to emulate such a mentally relaxed state of mind each morning, although on second thought, I know that’s a fat chance when I return to the city.


Papaya. Breakfast of queens.

I open Google Chrome on my phone and start browsing the Kitchn, my new favorite website. It contains articles about food, cleaning, and lifestyle. I comment a bit as I read and eat and an impressed by the young man who has a Kickstarter to raise funding for a Harry Potter inspired, wizardly pub in London, not because of this endeavor, but because of the wealth of scholarship and grant programs that he has taken advantage of – nearly a dozen!

Pop that Claritin

Pop that Claritin. This city girl isn’t used to all this nature


I head out the front door of my grandparents’ home. I undo the two locks on the door and step out into the crisp morning cool, wrapped in Joan (my step grandma)’s periwinkle blue LBI sweatshirt and my trash picked black North Face black outer shell jacket that had become a must have item for morning runs with all its lightweight protection from the wind and the rain.

large Earthworms grow here

Large Earthworms


A utility truck stops and starts every twenty feet. I think he is trying to spell caution to me as he sees me looking and typing on my phone as I make my way along the narrow, single lane roads of Harleysville. Then I smell the odor of a skunk spray and wonder if he instead is trying to warn me against this.

“Can you imagine what the rest of the week would be like if you were sprayed by a skunk?” I ask myself, knowing I cannot let this happen with evening plans with high school friends and an already sick 91 year old grandpa with which to share the house. Luckily the smell dissipates and I continue on my way..

Small towns still using hand placed letter signs


Actually I know why I’ve had trouble sleeping. I can’t shake the indecision as to whether I am heading down the right path in taking on the Personal Assistant role.

It was so clear, when I was applying to, and waiting to hear back as to whether I was selected for the role.

I reach Walmart, the destination for my run this morning. I don’t need anything from Walmart, but the round-trip distance is a healthy 6+ mile jog, and I’m slightly interested in the prospect of being indulgent and buying a face mask. Without having exfoliated my face in 5 days now, I can feel the dead skin starting to build, and In beginning to break out a little. However, the indulgence lies less in the cost, $2, and more in the waste of packaging that such a purchase entails. I feel my face and decide its smooth enough and I need neither the one-use masque, not the charcoal scrubs that I eye.


Some of the beautiful homes lining downtown Harleysville

As I stop to photograph this house, a man slowly rolls by, window down, and stops. “Thank you!” he yells.

I wink back.

“That’s my house!” he smiles.

I break into a grin and yell, “It’s beautiful!”


Harleysville is full of so much small town charm. Businesses intermix nearly indecipherably with homes, only hinted as commercial entities by their small wooden, painted signs.


By the time I arrive home the roof cleaner is here, setting up for a day of spraying.

And I pick up the paper for my Poppy and bring it inside.

“Small town living is enviable in its simplicity,” I think to myself as I begin to imagine how it would be to live here day in, day out, purchasing my grandparents’ home outright from them, but I know this was their journey. It’s not my journey, and I’m just lucky to have been along for part of it.