Running thoughts: hospitality, humility and humidity

I really thought that here on the first Wednesday of October, I’d be waxing poetic about the joys of autumn, like the fabulous pumpkin chai I recently discovered at Caribou Coffee. (It’s really awesome, and if you like pumpkin or chai, you’ve gotta try it.)

Instead of writing about the delightful fall, though, I find myself astonishingly grateful for air-conditioning and an order from my doctor to take a week off from running. After all, a run right now would be more like swimming, only without the refreshing water part.

Many of us southern runners love autumn because it lacks the main summertime ingredient that causes us to struggle: humidity. We’ve survived the awful stuff all summer, and in many cases, fall is the time of year that we ramp back up with our running. We can add in more miles and even change up the time of day we run, simply because we’re no longer trying to dodge suffocating heat and humidity. But this week has felt more like late August or early September. Yesterday was so humid outside that the windows of my house fogged up (from the outside). With the start of fall, I thought I was done with tracking sweaty footprints across the floors, not to mention the drenched shoes and running clothes.

While out with my dog this morning, I found the humidity to be overwhelming. So I tried to turn my thoughts to a topic I’ve been working out for my most recent book chapter: hospitality. Do you mind if I revisit the topic? Continue reading

The vanishing front porch

Welcome to the front porch

One evening, as my husband and I sat on our front porch, one of our neighbors walked by and called out to us, saying, “I love to see people using their front porch!” He was pointing out a rarity in our neighborhood, despite several homes having beautiful, welcoming front porches. Most of those porches sit vacant and unused. Even ours sits unused more than it should.

I think air conditioning has forever changed what used to be a sacrosanct aspect of southern hospitality: gathering on the front porch with friends at the end of a day’s hard work. After all, who wants to sit out on the porch battling mosquitos and suffering from the heat and humidity when indoors is so cool and refreshing, not to mention bug-free?

Maybe busyness has also changed how hospitable we are. And I don’t just mean those of us who live in the air-conditioned south. Continue reading