So, I looked at my running photos again, and I remembered this photo and why I love it so much. It's Clara, looking strong as she enters the chute on her way to the finish line. I remember that she passed two girls in the chute because she was coming in with a hot, fast kick. There's her coach Stephanie on the right (in the orange shirt and sunglasses) yelling that yes, she can catch those girls. And there's her friend Ashley (with the orange shirt and pom poms) cheering her on, excited by just how fast Clara runs.
And when you look closer, there's more. Ashley is wearing an orange cast because she broke her leg at the very first meet of the season and has not been able to run this year. Yet she shows up at every meet to cheer her teammates on. And next to her is her mother! Also there to cheer the team on, even though her kid isn't even competing. Because the bigger picture of cross country is the team and community and family connections we've made. There's new friends and a strong team who really support each other.
But for me, there's even more. Last weekend, Clara traveled about 350 miles with her team to southern California to run in a huge invitational meet. I emailed my brothers and sisters who live down there and asked if they wanted to drop by and watch her run (even though I wouldn't be there). And they showed up in force! There were seven of them, with signs saying "Go Clara!" and "HMB XC!" Paul flew down, and his parents went to the meet as well. My one brother who couldn't make it called after the race to see how she did. You see, the bigger picture of cross country for me also includes the fact that all three of my brothers ran cross country in high school (and two in college). They love the sport and were thrilled to go see Clara run in the same invitational they remember competing in when they were (much) younger.
When I look at this photograph of Clara, I see more than a really strong fast competitive runner (although I do see that, too). I see where she fits in the bigger picture, in the web of life which surrounds us all. And that makes my heart happy.
Thank you Kat for sponsoring this wonderful photography practice.
To check out the other photo-heart connections from this month, click on this link.