I ran in Portland, this morning, in the park along the Willamette River.

I spent a good part of the winter in solitary slogs early on dark, cold New England mornings, festooned with reflective material, and wrestling unsatisfactorily with mitts and gloves and buffs and hats and earbands. All winter, I passed or was passed by not a single other runner.

Today, it felt like a party, sailing along in a crowd on a chilly but bright day. I said hi to all the oldies I met, and all but once got a hi or a wave in reply. I saw moms out  pushing their kids in those cool little running strollers. I saw an older lady pedaling a recumbent bike that also had hand pedals. I saw a homeless guy hauling all his earthly possessions while cruising slowly along on an ancient skateboard. And I occasionally found myself in the slipstream of beautiful slender people who just blew by with that wonderfully smooth, seemingly effortless speed. It was wonderful.

I stopped in a running shop where the people actually knew what they were talking about, and then I went off to drink great coffee and wander around one of the world’s great bookstores. Pretty close to nirvana to a booky, runny, coffee hound.