Some friends and I just spent a gorgeous and wonderful weekend in Northern California. We ran the Avenue of the Giants Half Marathon, gushed about our surroundings, and enjoyed our time together. It was lovely to do a race in a new place with old friends. Here we are at the start of the race.Av of Giants

I loved this event, in large part because of the beauty of the Redwoods, but also because it was simple and sweet.

Packet pickup was outdoors and tiny, with no expo. They gave out cotton t-shirts to race participants, along with a bottle, bag, and a package of dill seeds. (We giggled about the package of dill seeds, but I, for one, am excited about planting mine.)  And that was it. No frills. Just simplicity.

The race start was a mat you had to cross. The half marathon was an out and back on a road completely closed to traffic. And people were friendly. There were few spectators on the course because they just couldn’t get out there, given that the road was closed, but the racers themselves cheered for one another. As I passed people or as they passed me, many said, “Good job.” As the lead runners were heading back or the lead marathoners (who started an hour before we did) were passing, they yelled, “You’re doing great! Almost there!” I was amazed at the encouragement I received from other runners.

Simple and sweet. Isn’t that how life should be?

I’ve been working a great deal on simplifying and letting go of “things.” I don’t need much to be happy. I need my home, my cats, good friends, and someone to love. I want to spend my days doing what I enjoy with nice people who root for one another. That’s about all I need.

And on this trip, as much as I enjoyed myself, I found myself ready at the end of four days to return home. I loved what I saw in Northern California. I loved the people I spent my time with. And I loved all that we did. But those activities and those people, and many more, are all a part of my daily life at home. I’ve surrounded myself with genuinely nice people who cheer for one another on a regular basis. And the Texas hill country where I live is just as beautiful in its own way.

Life at home is simple and sweet. As it should be. This trip to California affirmed that for me.


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