Lilacs, Swans, and Chocolate Chia

I cannot breathe deeply enough to satisfy my sense of smell.  The lilacs are out in full bloom, and the sidewalks on South Street are lined with the purple and white-tipped branches.  I run by bush after bush, my lung capacity inadequate to perform what my desire demands.  I close my eyes for as long as I dare, checking the sidewalk ahead of me for pitfalls before I inhale again.  I push the air back out fast, draw the next breath through my nose and remember my grandmother’s house and the lilacs she cut, the vases she loaded with the flowers so that the whole house smelled like heaven.  I look ahead for more.  I picture myself like a puppy, nose to the ground, pressing into the scent, then completely succumbing to it, rolling in it, pressing my entire body into a carpet of the tiny, fragrant blossoms.

The early morning invites me to run and run as far as I can go.  I am light today in body and spirit.  The thin shorts and tank top are just right after I am warmed up; my cell phone is at home.  No one can call to interrupt this morning’s pleasure.  I left all my worries behind my front door when I pulled it closed.

The magnolias have gone by, only to be replaced by cherry, sand cherry, and apple blossoms and their scents mingle with the lilacs and the smell of the sea at low tide.  Some of the sand has returned to Pebble Beach; the shoulders of the boulders exposed during the heavy spring storms are half-buried in the fine brown and mica-sprinkled sand.  On Cambourne Pond, the swans are nesting.

I  seek out the bright white shapes of the swans deep among the reeds.  There she is, the swan mother, all curled and curved around her nest.  I feel a smile spread across my face and a rush of love for nature as I remember last year— the nesting, the loss, and the nesting again—and yet here they are once more, these two beautiful white birds, having weathered the heavy winds and storms of this past winter, ready to try again.  The male paddles nearby, keeping a watchful eye on his nest and its precious contents, warding off the ducks, geese, and gulls that share the small pond all year.  I continue on, and I promise myself I will keep an eye on the nest each time I run by.

I make sure to look at Richard’s tulips as I pass his house on Eden Road.  At the overlook, I slow down enough to watch the water sparkle and lap the rocky shore.  I see the new spring green growth on Thatcher Island, and the Twin Lights, back-lit by the bright morning sun.

I return to South Street, then turn onto Marmion Way.  More lilacs, more deep breathing to take in my favorite spring smell.  I will run home and cut all of our lilacs, and maybe some of the neighbors’ too, and fill clear glass vases for the bedrooms and kitchen.  After breakfast.

Post-Run Chocolate Chia Shake


12 oz unsweetened almond milk

2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

2 small frozen bananas

2 Tbsp peanut butter

dash of vanilla extract

2 scoops chia seeds


Put all ingredients in blender and process until smooth.

Serves 2.

Per serving:  290 cal; 15.5 g fat; 13 g fiber; 13 g sugar, 9 g protein.

Explore posts in the same categories: Food and Recipes, Run notes that run into life

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3 Comments on “Lilacs, Swans, and Chocolate Chia”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Your descriptions are simply amazing! The post-workout chocolate shake sounds yummy!!

  2. Craig Says:

    You didn’t write anything about our first reactions to the Chocolate Chia Shakes. I hope you mention in today’s post.

  3. lise Says:

    You make it sound so wonderful…

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