I listen to the crickets, perhaps one of the most calming sounds after a long winter. The little canyon where I sit is quiet, at least for now the wind has subsided, and high clouds dampen the setting sun. Birds sing amongst the bushes and some swallows swoop through the sky.
The farther into the canyon I’ve come, the more signs of spring appear. Small tufts of green grass, a couple of tiny flowers here and there, and most notably, the warmth. The winter has been so busy between work and weather, that it’s been months since I’ve traveled farther than an hour and that was just to get groceries.
The creek adds a calming background sound. I let my head lay back on the rock I’m sitting against. High clouds drift slowly over a half-full moon. Occasionally my mind drifts back home to worries, but I let my thoughts dissipate into the drifting clouds.
I gather some wood, hunting for some juniper logs amongst the sparse trees. There’s plenty of cottonwood, but juniper smells way more pleasant — like incense compared to the stinky cottonwood. I finally get a small log to catch and prop my pot against the flames to cook my dinner.
Yesterday I was up in the mountains, skiing and contemplating camping up there. But the lure of the warm temperatures in the canyons below drew me back down. Sometimes I am motivated to push through things and be uncomfortable and can sometimes thrive in those situations. But a lot of times I turn around, especially when I realize I don’t have the motivation or energy to be, say, battered by the wind and freezing cold in a tent for a few nights when I can quite literally hike the opposite direction and sit in a warm, quiet canyon with the crickets.
As I write this though, I suddenly realize how I’m not talking about running again. I ran into a tree the other day skiing and bumped my bad knee. I have a doctor’s appointment in a couple days, so I’m still adding to the carnage caravan of injuries. The reality is, I’m getting older. It’s been so long since I’ve moved without injury, and I’m starting to wonder if that’ll ever happen. I don’t think I’ll ever stop running — it feels as ingrained in me as the lines on the palm of my hand — but now I don’t do it every day and rotate through whatever sport feels best each day. I’m trying to take life in stride, as they say.
As I write this, however, my mind drifts to running trails with a tiny pack. The simplicity of running can’t be beat: just some water, a few snacks, your shoes, and maybe a headlamp. I can’t wait for those long days when you fumble in the door totally wiped out, but content … so long as my knees can hang in there! Is anybody else daydreaming of long days and good knees ahead?
Call for Comments
- Do you find injuries breaking the rhythm of your running?
- Do you have other activities that you can turn to on the days when running isn’t happening?