Monday, July 27, 2009

Be here now

There's something about sports that insists we "be here now." And that goes double for outdoor sports, with all that Mother Nature has to offer in the way of challenges and gifts. Here's from a trail run I did in Vermont:

It’s 6:30 a.m. I’m alone, running through the woods. The sun begins to filter through the trees. Over my own breathing and the crunch of twigs under my feet, I hear something new. It sounds halfway between a pigeon lowing and a dog growling. The trail curves in to the edge of a pond and that’s when I see them—a mother river otter and her two babies. She is facing me, backing away toward the water’s edge, lowing and growling at me. I stop. Still as I can be, I watch. The mother keeps her eyes on me as she herds her babies into the pond. She holds one in her mouth by the scruff of its neck. The other baby cleaves to her side as the three swim away. I am released from my stillness and start running again, but now I’m suffused with the special tingle of a close encounter with nature. I feel the fullness of my own breath, my strong heart beating. Joy.

I'm headed out to California today for August, somewhere new I've never been in the summer. Will there be trails to run? I sure hope so.