Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stop and smell the ros...SNAKES!!!

Then run as fast as you can!!

I have shared many times here how much I love to run on the Centennial Trail, here in Spokane, Washington. As I run, I think. Some of my most creative ideas come during this time. I also notice objects and scenes as I run by and make a mental note to myself to return, camera in hand, to capture these details with the intent to turn some of them into paintings.

Walking the trail with a camera requires a completely different mindset and I have to prepare myself mentally for this different way of experiencing the trail. If I don't take a moment to mentally change gears, I approach the trail impatiently with a hint of guilt and frustration that I'm somehow doing something less worthy, walking instead of running. What's interesting though, is that if I relax into the experience, I end up having an equally (although different) rejuvenating time.

When I walk the trail I notice things - details that I don't see when I am running. First of all, I notice more wildlife. You can easily imagine why. Here I am running: pound, pound, gasp, pound, pound, gasp, pound, pound, gasp. By the time I finally lumber into view, any self respecting wild creature is long gone. Last week as I walked the trail, I stopped to watch the cloud formations move behind a gnarly old tree. As I began to walk forward, I noticed a rather large snake right in front of me, beginning to cross the trail. Not knowing what kind of snake it was, (rattlesnakes are common here), I decided to yield the right of way. I watched the beautiful, graceful movement as it disappeared into the grass on the other side of the trail. Then it was my turn to move on. I love sharing the trail, not just with the other runners, walkers, bike riders, skateboarders, but with the creatures that called the trail home.

I also notice smaller things, tiny plants, nuances of shape and form. I get into more conversations with people. When I am running, there is no time for talking...there is no breath for talking. It is a solitary activity, which I love. Walking invites community, which I also love.

I guess it's all about balance. Sometimes it's wonderful to speed up, run fast, breathe hard, feel your heart beating and your hair flying behind you...just you and the world. Other times, it's good to slow down, take stock of the situation, breathe deeply, smell the dirt and the flowers and the grass, and maybe even notice hidden dangers on your path.

I hope your community offers places like the Centennial Trail, where you can recharge and connect with this incredible world.

1 comment:

  1. I hope we find a great outdoor place like the Centennial Trail in Omaha.