I come I know not whence, I am I know not who, I die I know not when, I go I know not where.
I wonder why I am of good cheer.
Fall has always been a bit of an odd time for me. Still hanging on to the good memories of summer and not quite transitioned into winter, I find myself resisting the change instead of embracing it. Each morning looks the same, coffee sipping, motivation searching, dawn is colored in darkish gloom with the sun fighting to shine through the wall of gray. My mind feels much like the weather, clouded, undecided, uninspired, and my body, fatigued and achy from too much running, only reinforces the metaphor. Yet, I have to run or else I’ll go mad. Tights or shorts? Long run or short one? Hard, fast, easy, or slow? Roads perhaps or maybe a scramble up the hill? All these choices plague me and lead to indecision but what frustrates me the most is my awareness that I’m purposefully choosing to focus on these obstacles instead of just getting out for a run. I’ll take anything to snap out of this funk. A workout, that’s what I need - some structure to tame the madness.
I have a nice circuit through the woods behind my house with some hills, some technical sections and some smooth, fast dirt too. I’ve settled on doing 16x1 minute hard with a minute recovery each time, with no specific goal in mind, simply to inject a little fun into the currently dull routine. The first hard minute is uphill and feels pretty awful. The recovery minute is downhill and my legs feel wobbly. The second hard minute does not feel much better, nor does the third. I’m over half way through and the whole run feels so forced. I’m fighting the very mechanism that would let my running flow free again, namely leaving out the mental and spiritual dimension and concentrating solely on the physical training. I listen to the beeping of my watch indicating the start of the seventh hard repetition. I listen, but don’t engage. The trail ahead marks the continuation of this drudgery, but Dog, unconcerned with the binding of the clock, offers on open invitation to freedom blazing her own path down through the bushes to the ocean. The tide is high and I zigzag up and down the beach playfully avoiding its reach. Dog sprints ahead, hopping over washed up boat hulls, ducking under fallen trees, splashing in and out of the water. I follow suit, trailing behind, tentatively at first, until my feet get wet and then I no longer care. Sand fills my shoes and salt rubs between my legs as I immerse to my waist. The cold water feels good on my limbs, invigorating, stimulating. A sea otter comes to greet us and then a bald eagle. The gulls squawk and go about their business. We run until the sandy stretch cliffs out. The waves crashing against the rock create a reverberating thud in the wet sand under my feet. For a moment I wonder why I can’t seem to replicate this powerful feeling of elemental connection to my surroundings all the time. Why am I so bound to structure, limits, goals, expectations and outcomes? Why do I knowingly stunt the creativity of my mind? Inevitably, thought slips in and steals the magic yet, as we start back on our way home and resume our play, we are two animals enthralled in the simplest form of expression, free and inspired, again.
Photos from another day, where a couple hours turned into four, meandering the coast trail of East Sooke Park.