Thursday, May 2, 2013

going to heal

There's a little park near my house. Its dirt trails are short and steep. Sometimes you have to hurdle fallen trees and sidestep outsloped tread. You have to do several circles to make three miles. You can't run fast. Over the last year it is where I have gone to test recovery. Recovery from a cold, recovery from my trail running fall, recovery from over-doing it from my trail running fall, recovery from unexplained recurring pain from my trail running fall. What I like about the park is that it is simple. It is quiet. It absorbs everything--stress, pain, fear.

I headed out for my first tentative run since the PT visit. It was the kind of run where you hold on to hope that you might be back to the way you were, when you ran without fear or pain. There is so much we take for granted,  and it only takes one misplaced step to take it all away.

So I ran, not breaking any land speed records. A little pain came to visit. People wonder why I still run, when the only time it hurts is this. I can't explain it, because often running isn't very much fun. I don't work at it the way I used to, with a single-minded focus: Track workouts. Long runs. Running logs. New shoes every  X miles. Obsessiveness. Compulsion. Medals. Judgment at a minute off the pace. But also this: Floating. The zone we all try to reach. Realizing the body is capable of so much more than we ask of it. That moment when everything aligns, feet and road, earth and sky.

I watched the clouds move across the mountains:

The whole face of Mount Joseph fascinates me. A local pilot claims that there is a two story mining cabin nestled on its flanks, but nobody I know has ever found it on foot.

The trails were empty and sweet.

This park is called Iwetemlaykin, which means "at the edge of the  lake." It is a sacred place for the Nez Perce people, as is this whole area on which I hike, run and live. Though it is a place that was stolen from them and does not belong to me, it is sacred to me, too. 


  1. That sounds like a great spot. The closest place I have to that here in California is Black Mountain — the summit I can reach on bike or on foot direct from my front door. I go up there and I can see the Pacific Ocean and the fog layer rolling over the Santa Cruz mountains, and to the east, glittering city lights (if it's sunset time, which often it is), the SF Bay, and sometimes, in the winter, a little bit of snow on Mount Hamilton. I love it up there, and don't grow tired of it, even if it is just a tower-covered grassy mound a few thousand feet above San Jose.

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    That's what running is all about to me. Nicely written! Carol


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