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Run your city // Run at Christmas

Cours ta ville // Courir à Noël

- Photos by Kevin Lynch

The world is frozen. Time suspends its hypersonic flight. The morning light streams, sparkling. The air is cold. The surface, a few days after the ice storm, is still uncertain. You leave the house, its warmth, its people, its smells of the day after a big party and the dishes lying on the counter.

Running on Christmas morning is one of your favorite times of the year.

It's a break within a break. The madness of the tumbling days has stopped. The avalanche of preparations and gifts too. All that remains is to enjoy the long hours that stretch despite the brevity of the days around the winter solstice. For a moment, you escape from the celebrations and go out to get some fresh air, to swallow it in big gulps. The first breath rhymes with repair. Its freshness anesthetizes your bronchi irritated by conversations. It is invigorating.

You run and you feel, physically, your mind relaxing. Your shoulders relax. The pressure drops. Reuniting with family did you the greatest good. Staying up late, laughing, eating and drinking too much. Not being wise. You are not running to cleanse yourself of this, since these actions are part of a vast temporary deprogramming plan. It was time for everything to stop, you realize as you walk through the streets, most of them deserted. Except for other runners, a few walkers, all come, like you, to take a break by speeding through the city, without any real destination. Endlessly. Go away in order to come back better.

The great march of productivity holds its breath while you see yours, in the form of vapor, disappearing in your wake.

You don't look at your watch. You run for the gesture, for the pleasure. Because it's the gift you give yourself on this day dedicated to gratitude.

You tell yourself that all your outings, which are counted by tens or hundreds of kilometers, converge on this moment, free of obstacles, and that the repetition of the gesture allows you to do in complete freedom. Five, ten, fifteen kilometers await you. Distance doesn't matter. It's the ease with which you cross it that is delightful. A year of training your body for this: running for pleasure, in the purest moment possible, to do yourself good.

You zigzag through the streets to avoid the wind. The city protects you from it; you like seeing her dozing like this. Giant in standby mode. Beautiful to see when she sleeps in broad daylight like now. You improvise your route as you move forward. Ah, look, here's a street you never go to. You see families leaving homes, their arms full of gifts and food. The tired but happy faces. The children's cries resonate like perfect chords. All in the major scale. That of happiness.

You file yours on the way back. Head in jig. The heart in December. Yours are waiting for you, with your smell of cold air, your frosted eyebrows, your shoes marked by (de)icing sugar spread on the sidewalks. They think you're brave. You simply wish them to one day understand what you feel at this moment, while your body returns to inertia, vibrating with the beauty of the movement that is ending.