Bill and I started out nice and easy. He was doing a much longer ran than I had in mind, but he was free to tag along with me for the first couple of miles.
The trails offered cover from the wind as well as any rain that might pop-up.
It also offers the chance for one's life to flash before one's eyes.
Case in point: We were cruising along, talking about work (Bill knows I don't like talking about work during runs, and he doesn't like it either, but sometimes he can't help himself), when we came to a little patch littered with river rocks and roots.
Being a former hurdler, I am usually pretty good about spotting my spots and getting my feet safely planted.
I have no idea how, but I managed to plant right on a root. This wasn't a trip or toe stub. Forefoot firmly impacted with exposed root. Then, the circus started. Arms flailing. Legs flying. Some sputters. Finally an exasperated but relieved utterance of a 4-letter word. Somehow I managed to stay upright enough to not completely bite it. More luck than skill.
I stopped. Took a deep breath to try to douse the adrenaline deluge that was released in the 2 seconds of mayhem. Then, I took stock. Nothing bleeding. Nothing overly strained. Shorts not soiled. Good to go.
We moved through the trails without mishap for an entire loop. Returning to the trail-head, Bill headed off for the rest of his workout.
Today being the last day of the work week for me before taking some time off for Spring Break, I decided I really wanted, no needed, another loop.
On this loop, the rain started. Loved it. Rain sounds different in the woods. The woods sound different in the rain.
I came back to the small stream that BIll and I had crossed earlier. The water level was low enough to expose some well placed stones that offered a dry path.
This time, though, I took a different route. i went down stream a few yards to a large tree that had fallen across the stream. The tree died to give us a bridge. The bridge was solid. About 6 feet above the stream. High enough to get your attention, but not so high as to make you fear for your life. Still, crossing it was exhilarating.
[Didn't take my phone with me today. I'll snag a picture of the tree another day.]
Coming back, free from work talk, my brain was free to wander.
Well, to be precise, my brain stayed within my skull, were it belongs. But my mind wandered a bit.
As I moved along the river, I could tell things were different. Something looked different. This area used to be covered in small bushes and young trees. During the heavy late winter rains, the river rose higher than usual and covered this area. Looking around more I could see debris, bits of trees and limbs.
The river must have scrubbed this area clean. The baby trees and scrubby shrubs were taken away like whiskers vs. a Gillette Mach3 Turbo.
This section of trail was more open now without trees overhead. You could see the sky. And all around, was new, green, lush... stuff. I don't know... ferns, and grasses, and clover, and ivy. Stuff like that.
What used to be a scraggly, unremarkable mess looked now like a winding trail through someone's manicured garden.
This is another form of change. This is renewal.
Sometimes the universe makes a mess of things. Sometimes life sneaks up on us and takes our plans and shreds them, right in front of our faces.
We have a choice. We can mope around, and mourn for the bushes and the trees. Or we can take our path with our head up and wait to see what grows out of the mess.
If we live in the past, or resist our present because it wasn't what we thought it would be, we won't even notice the nice new green stuff growing right at our feet.
Numbers: 3.5 miles on soft, cushy trail.