March 22, 2020

Impermanence


"No man ever steps in the same river twice. For it's not the same river, and he's not the same man."

― Heraclitus

March 1, 2020

Pause, and Concentrate

  

Sometimes the most routine trails reveal the most interesting things. All you have to do is pause, and concentrate on what's right in front of you. It's amazing what appears. That's life, really.

February 9, 2020

Proof of Presence


Buddha is often quoted on the topic of being "present." He, by all accounts, wasn't one to dwell on the past, saying poignantly that "there's only one moment for you to live, and that is the present moment." In other words, forget about the past, and just focus on being present in this moment.

My concern with this is that I have too many memories of being "present" in the past that remind me of how important it is to be present.

I remember, for example, pacing a friend during a 100 mile race. It was late at night, and it was starting to get pretty cold as we climbed toward the top of a mountain. I saw a glimpse of another runner's light above us. As I looked up, I noticed snowflakes falling gently from the sky. Yet, there were no clouds, just snowflakes. I remember being very present in that moment.

There was another time, during Western States 100, when I came into the Forest Hill aid station. I was really beat up, wondering how I was going to finish with 40 miles to go. Then I saw my family and crew, and my youngest daughter took my hand and walked with me for a while. I'll never forget that moment. Precious.

Yes, living in the present is indeed the best way to be "present." But remembering moments of clarity in the past, those precious seconds etched so vividly in our minds, are proof of presence, and not to be forgotten. 

January 26, 2020

Happy Birthday Mom



Dear Mom:

A few months ago you told me you were tired of walking around the neighborhood. You said it was boring, and that you and Eileen were going to start getting out on trails. I have to say, initially, I was a little nervous about this. Looking back, I'm not sure why. You've now tackled Buck Gully via the long route, the steep Bobcat trail, and now the full 2+ mile, 400' climb to Coastal Peak Park from the fire station.

Recently, after one of your hikes, you told me how beautiful the mountains were. That the recent storm had left them covered in snow. It's really hard to get up and out there so early in the morning, you said, but all you have to do is think about how good you feel when you finish, and that overcomes any doubt.

You recently sent me a picture of the trailhead at Buck Gully before sunrise. You guys were about to begin your hike. Most would look at this and say, what's the big deal? Not me. Understanding why someone would take a random picture of a dark trailhead before sunrise requires a special connection, a kindred.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm too old to keep doing this running thing, and if I should just turn my attention to more age appropriate activities, like golf, or tennis, or woodworking. Then I remember how you used to let me explore the hills and canyons around our home as a child. I can still remember those canyons like yesterday, and the pollywogs, and the lizards and the hawks over my head. Thank you for letting me loose back then. I don't think I would've done well in a cage.

Happy birthday, my kindred spirit.