I went on a run a few weeks ago. On trails I’ve run dozens of times before. Looking back (and forward), I’ve tried to keep reminding myself that in a way, nothing really special happened on that run.
I was on my own. I left my room, the four painted walls, and then... into the woods.
It was as if I’d broken through something, finally... some invisible, delicate-sturdy, artificial membrane (self and world-created) that I’d only been hazily aware of before... hazily aware of some thing impeding motion. Suddenly, I was moving! Each step, taken a thousand times before on this same ground, these same dirt trails, was a little miracle — little miracles, all, that I had finally somehow recognized. I was aware of my momentum, aware of the soles of my feet rebounding elastic against the hardpacked dirt, minutely and beautifully aware of my little feet navigating on their own roots and rocks and stairsteps with some mindless magic of foot-consciousness...
Have I lost you yet? Do I seem silly, ridiculous, overstating? High? No, I was not on shrooms. I was just, somehow, awake.
And I could see! The sturdy full growth of trees, alive and swelling upward from the earth, receiving the blueness and gold of sky. The slender brown rough firmness of bark, hard-alive, encapsulating soft-life inside. I could see the trees, I knew their living greenness, and the greenlively moss clinging. Such greenbright! Such life, such livingness. Finally, I could see it. Finally aware.
I was following a known path into unknown, maybe unknowable, territory. I felt the inward compel to stop, pause (outwardly), often. To be still. And just feel, sense, eyes and ears and the rest... watching and knowing on the surface of Six Mile Creek the invisible glowflow of pure rippling currents... gurglewhirls and watermotion... hearing and knowing the delicate dribbling bubbling of water on water, on stones. Smelling the crystal warm freshness of air, feeling the softrippling touches of windflow. Watching other people watching.
The path took me its way to a cluster of rocks, those sort of thinflaky rocks anyone who’s spent much time in Ithaca knows. Little minicliffs of them. And then the sudden inward need to climb them. The most dangerous part for sure. There was real potent fear, clinging to the delicate loose-crumbly rockface, knowing a hard, seriously dangerous fall below me. And yet, deep in me, awareness of the safeness of this strange dangerous wild ecstasy, guided. I needed to follow through. All I had to do was know my body, know my surroundings... know each foot and handmotion, know each grasp on firm or crumbly rockhold.
Ah, the relief to see, and then grasp solid, a firm root near the top, knowing on the surface now as well as deep within that I was good, would make it. And onward....
Altogether, it was about an hour of running, though I was out there for closer to two. Then back inside, within the four painted walls. But I’d gotten through, and have gotten through. I’m here now, on this strange other side. But it’s an other side that is realer, truer, more fundamental than whatever side I’d been living on before. Through the false created blurring membrane. And wow... what a vastness it has opened up, what a hazy world of potential brought into nearer clarity...
Rás Life is “all about living the real moments.” That’s why I’m trying to remind myself that nothing really special happened on that run (Ha!). It’s just that during those two strange hours, I finally came awake to the realness, to those real moments, to the real life. And so much further to go!