Monday, May 30, 2011

Day 2 / Sense-sational

The unexamined life is not worth living. - Socrates

Sense-sational! That's all I have to say about this mornings run! After it rained the proverbial 'cats and dogs' last night, it seemed the world around me had awakened with an array of sights, sounds, and colors. Now, I understand this could just been me wiping the sleep out of my eyes and finally waking up after the deadness of long night's sleep, but it seemed to be different this morning. The trees looked greener. The smell of flowers and fresh lilacs filled the air with its delicious aroma. My senses were stimulated. My soul was uplifted. It was one of those mornings where you thought to yourself, 'It's good to be alive!" To be able to run is one thing, to be able to run and enjoy the run is a whole different story.

We, by nature, are creatures of habit. We tend to get methodical in our daily routines, which in turn, can make not just our runs but life itself, well, somewhat dull and boring. The trappings of our ever so technologically oriented world seem to enclose us within a cocoon of sense deprivation. We live in sealed houses of recycled air conditioned or furnace pushed air. The sounds of life on the outside are excluded to world that is created for us in the inside of our homes. Sometimes the closest we get to nature is viewed through the Discovery Channel or some National Geographic documentary of some weird pigmy tribe in the Amazon Rain Forest. Leaving us with a fairly tempered view of the real world and nature itself.

I can remember as a young boy ( not too long ago... :-) ), that being inside the house was tantamount of being locked up in a prison cell. Our daily lives, especially when summer break was at hand, was spent outside. The woods down at the end of the street served as our playground and our 'new world' of exploration. We lived, breathed, and died to be in those woods. From tree forts, to bike trails, to playing army, those woods were home to countless memories. It was there we played our first 'Truth or Dare' games. It was there we shot our BB guns. It was there we powered through the trails on our bikes in a imaginary motocross race as the summer breeze blew through our seventies style shaggy hairdo's. It was there in the woods we experienced our 'first kiss'. It was was there we could leave our homes of parental tension and escape to a land of awe and wonder. It was there, in those woods, we spent nights around the camp fire, telling scary stories and spooking one another to death. It was there we laughed, and played, and even cried til the sun went down. It was in those woods, we shared our dreams, our hurts, and wondered about who or what we wanted to be when we grew up.

Those woods, the woods of my youth, though long since removed in the name of progress and subdivisions, still exist in my mind. I can, to this day, vividly remember the sights and sounds of many happy moments with my best of friends. There is no doubt in my mind that these memories of my youth are some how, some way a part of my love for running. There are moments during a run, like this morning's run, that will jog (no pun intended) a memory loose...a flash from the past will incredibly flood my mind. It could be the smell after a spring rain, the fresh fragrance of lilacs, or high stepping it past some squirming worms that stimulates my mind, and the next thing I know, I am lost in one of those childhood moments. Suddenly I am there, back in the woods with my friends, enjoying the 'freedom' of my youth. Sometimes the memory is fleeting, it may last but a moment, and I quickly find myself back in the here and now, and yet, sometimes the moment captures me and the next thing I know, I am lost in the memory as it floods my senses and infuses my mind. The next thing I know, without realizing it, a mile or more of my run has passed.

No doubt, this is a part of the reason I have come to enjoy running so much. Its here, where I remember, what I told myself way back then in my childhood that I never wanted to forget. The freshness of life through the eyes of a child. A time and place where the world was mine to behold and anything and everything seemed possible! Maybe this is why, when I go out for a run, that something within me secretly wishes for one of those threatening clouds to open up and pour out a gully washer in the middle of run. When I was young, walking home in the rain or splashing through the puddles was something I didn't try to avoid, but it was something I couldn't wait to do. Now, as I approach the age of fifty, I am relearning to enjoy these moments again...I am learning its good to have a cloud burst open to wash my mind clean from time to time!

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