The temperature was approaching 100 degrees when I sat down on a large rock and looked across the canyon. I noticed the power poles planted along this mountain ridge that crossed the canyon and how the electrical wires hung from them, drooping slightly from one pole to the next. Then I heard the sound of raven in the distance. I looked up and saw a flock of them, floating effortlessly in a thermal, rising and circling and chanting at each other. For just a second, I imagined I was one of those ravens, floating with a flock of friends and family, uninhibited, just living.
I had never come to this particular place before, although I’d passed below it more than fifty times running on what is one of my favorite trails just a few hundred feet away. It is a prominent perch, where I now sat, with views of Santiago Peak, the expanse of Orange County and the Pacific Ocean. A question presented itself to me. I’d run on this mountain so many times before, yet I’d never come to this incredible spot until now. Why?
Shakespeare wrote “There are no prisons more confining than the ones we don’t know we’re in.” It’s nothing cathartic, whimsical or even spiritual. It’s quite simple. I came to this trail today, unlike any other day, for the sole purpose of exploring. Not to run, train or workout, but to stop, look around and, maybe, find something different. Something amazing. It worked.
Running is an awesome thing to do. Sometimes, however, we runners lose sight of other things that are important. We get caught up in the regime of training and preparation for the “big race”. We forget or, worse yet, we never discover, the incredible environment around us. Slow down runners. And see what emerges before you.