My mom, Kass, was born in the 50s to ten siblings--7 boys and 3 gals. My family grew up very poor in Baltimore City but what we lacked in material we made up for in fierce, loyal love for one another. During a time where gals were supposed to be spending time inside or learning to cook, my mother was outside playing softball with all of her siblings. As she got older she fell in love with running. She'd just go do laps around her campus at the local community college. Day in and day out she was logging 10 miles just up and down and around the little plot of land. Eventually someone took notice of her and she was asked to join the cross country team! She lasted one year. After that she knew she preferred the quiet and peace her solo runs brought her.
Some of my earliest memories are of me clicking my feet together in the jogging stroller while my ma sang Cat Stevens behind me. The smell of freshly cut grass and a slight breeze hitting us both. I remember how she would smell like "outside" when we would get back to the house. Without ever realizing what was happening, Kass completely normalized women powerfully and athletically existing within outdoor spaces. We would go hiking together at the state park just to get some fresh air and look at the trees. None of this seemed odd to me because it was simply how we lived our life.
Now, as a woman navigating her way through, what can feel like, harshly male dominated spaces, I admire my mother more than anyone. She showed me how to love the power of my body and seek peace in the outdoors.
The women who plowed through before us, saw what was presented to them as 'accepted' and decided to run towards the new and unexplored--because of them, we are.