Barstow, CA 5:20 a. m. The first rays of sunshine blind my view. I feel my heartbeat strong in my chest and my breath hot as fire. The smell of fresh gravel makes my nose itch in conjunction with the sweat dripping off my forehead. The earphones hurt my ears a little and the loud music feels my brain. I pace myself with the beat and I ignore the ache in my legs. There is no place I will rather be than running outdoors. This is my happy place. When I think about places that I enjoy many come to mind, but a place that truly brings me joy is the outdoors.
I enjoy many activities outdoors, but the one that makes me the happiest is running early in the morning up and down the many hills in Barstow. I know this might sound unfamiliar, most people will describe their favorite vacation spot or the coziest place in their home. But to be out at 5:20 a. m. running up Barstow Road brings me true happiness. As I am running I like to look at my surroundings I see the people behind the wheels. Some with anxious faces racing sixty on a thirty zone, probably trying to get to work. Others sing their morning away happily in their compact commuting cars.
There is always the fellow morning runners that pass by in their bright neon running shoes wearing a face of determination. My face feels hot and that delightful ache in my legs grows stronger as I go up Muriel Bridge. I see the tall traffic lights in the distance doing their usual green, yellow and red routine. The eighteen wheeler truck that drives unsafely fast under the bridge shakes the ground underneath my feet. It leaves a smell of burn rubber diesel gas and the hideous smell of black smoke. A sweet hot smell makes my stomach growl, then a sound of the bicycle pedaling right behind me.
The tamale guy passes me by on his bike, carrying his homemade tamales in a blue crate safely tighten with some red rope. He smiles, a smile of a man that never quite learn the meaning of a pleasant grim. He peddles fast and soon he is out of sight. The little man made of white lights tells me is my turn to go so I keep running as the red hand gives a warning to stop. I run next to the beautiful green grass that makes the lawn of Barstow Jr. High. The sprinkles are on and I feel the cool water hit my legs, it feels refreshing the tiny drops make the side walk wet and you can see pieces of the rainbow laying on the concrete.
I turn in to Cottonwood St. The all too familiar neighborhood where I grew up. I jog by the pale pink house with the wooden sign that reads Grandchildren are a gift from heaven right on top of the heavy white door. On the window I can see the lace curtains and the smell of fresh coffee escapes. The tiny old man works on his rose bushes perfecting them to its glorious shape. Looking at his front yard one could forget this is a green less Barstow home. Beautiful crimson roses, perfect green grass and a magnificent tall tree with autumn leaves adorn the beautiful yard.
The smell of wet dirt and trimmed grass is fascinating. Finally at the end of the street the corner house that stands gorgeous in its simplicity. A desert landscape with a weird shaped fountain in the middle. At the end of the drive ways lays a tool box and dads tools scatter all over the side of the house. A smell of fresh squeezed orange juice, quesadillas and chorizo eggs put a smile in my face. Mother always remembers it is Monday and I will finish my run at her house, just in time for a delicious Mexican breakfast just like she knows I love.