This morning I finally went for a run, and was pleased that the air wasn't yet heavy and humid. Usually at 8:30 am, the summer heat has already blanketed the city and it's impossible for me to run. For a few weeks I haven't gone running because I felt too lethargic with the summer heat and humidity. But these past few days, the temperatures and humidity have both subsided and it's one of the most pleasant times I've experienced this summer.
After Ponte alle Grazie, I had to run in the sun because there is no shade. I could feel the rays penetrate my clothes and warm me up even more. I was grateful for the tall trees providing shade along the Arno past Ponte San Niccolò. There is a small park where people walk dogs right after the ponte (bridge), but I keep to the shady sidewalk along the street.
As I ran across the Ponte da Verrazzano, I faced the sun almost head on so I sped up to get back to the shade on the other side of the Arno.
I stopped running at the Porta San Niccolò where there is a shaded area with benches and two bars, both closed at this time of day, above the Arno. I peered out over the low cement wall while I stretched out. I watched groups of tourists--some with umbrellas to provide shade--walk along the other side of the Arno toward Ponte Vecchio.
I enjoyed being in the shade where the air was still cool. I looked out at the Arno, which was a murky green with thick plants and grass growing underneath that I could see swaying with the movement of the water. I enjoyed listening to the water cascade down a cement embankment even though I could still hear a few cars, buses, and motorini (scooters) pass along the street behind me.
I walked along the Arno toward Ponte alle Grazie and was happy to see the city glowing in the bright sunshine. The colors of the buildings appeared more vibrant with all the surrounding greenery: tall, leafy trees as well as blossoming bushes and plants.
I noticed a few people were already laying out on the makeshift beach below the street at the level of the Arno. Men and women in bathing suits soaking up the morning sun before the sun becomes intense around noon.
I love to go running in the morning and I now know how much I missed it these past few weeks. Not only does running feel good to my body, but it also allows me to get back in touch with my beloved city. I get to take it in with all of my senses.
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