I burned a loaf of bread this morning because I was writing. I checked the oven and thought, “Ten more minutes,” then I sat down and typed for 25.

It’s been a while since writing sucked me in like that. It feels good to type, smile, stare briefly out the window into the middle distance, then get back at it.

This little column has a ways to go, but the beginning (posted below) is reminding me that sometimes writing is just straight up fun.

In 2012, I hope your work makes you grin.

Running Into the New Year

The first mile and a half are the toughest. In those six or eight or 12 minutes, your hands seem to get progressively colder and wind whips at every bit of exposed skin turning it red like the coals glowing in the woodstove that you foolishly left behind at home. If you’re lucky, the sun is out and you can think about how great it is to live in Central Oregon in January because unlike those poor schleps in Salt Lake City, Ut., Missoula, Mont., or Bellingham, Wash., you can at least get some Vitamin D while you freeze. More than likely, though, it’s sleeting sideways and the dark is either being slow to retreat or closing in fast, and you’re thinking you should remember to buy batteries for your headlamp before this weekend’s 10-miler.

At 2,000 steps in your blood finally reaches your toes, and your feet go from cherry popsicles to something bordering on comfortable. You pick up your head, squint down your eyes against the grit the weather gods are throwing your way, and grin. In arctic temperatures and ugly weather you’re taking control. You’re getting stronger, healthier, happier. Big Bob selling treadmills on late night infomercials on channel 352 can kiss your ass. You’re filled with joy, and all you have to do for the next forty minutes is keep putting one foot in front of the other.

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