I've wanted to be a cheetah since I was eight years old. Running through the neighborhood, I would imagine myself racing over grassy savannahs at top speeds with feet barely touching the ground. There was something about the freedom of being able to run like the wind which I coveted greatly.
As a young adult, I took up more serious running. I was never fast (though I have a third place 10K trophy in my hands - I was one of three in my age group for that race, so we each got one. HA!) but I could run for a long time. Running was the only time my brain would be quiet and calm, and on some days I felt a bit wild and free while I ran.
My dad ran for fitness, and as an adult, whenever I went home to visit I would run in the park on Saturday morning with my dad. We were probably the slowest runners on the trail, but it didn't matter. We talked about everything and nothing, felt proud of our willingness to run when others were at home on the sofa and kept our bodies and hearts strong at the same time. As my dad travelled a lot and worked long hours, those early morning runs were some of the best quality time I had with him. and I cherish those memories.
My affinity for the speedy cheetah gave me an instant connection with greyhounds at the dog races, and an immediate need to rescue those being put down for losing a couple of races. So I brought one home from the race track to save her life. Lordy she was fast! She loved to slip out of her harness and race down the street, forcing me to get the car to keep up with her. I loved watching her run, and would go out of my way to find ballparks with fences just to see her go full speed (without having to chase her in the car.) She ultimately did not turn out to be a very good dog, but she would have made a great cheetah.
My first date with my husband was the result of a running wager. He wagered her could beat a woman at any sport (seriously?) and I bet he couldn't run seven miles. And he couldn't, but I could. So he bought dinner, and nearly twenty years later we're still talking about that bet. Though neither one of us could run seven miles today.
So what message has this cheetah and her cubs brought me? I am fast at many things (just not running) and focused as well. So I already have an affinity for the single minded energy and determination of this beautiful creature. But the lesson for me today is actually about rest. The cheetah can go fast and be focused, but only for a little while. Then a mandatory fifteen minute rest. So for the remainder of this day, rest, relaxation and contemplation. And then tomorrow morning, a run!
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