ramblings about running, teaching, and life

fear of the inevitability

It’s funny, sometimes the end has to occur in order to precipitate the beginning. Things have to fall so completely apart before you find out what actually matters. The extraneous possessions feel worthless, if not uninspired.
The mountains and trails have a way of showing you that time doesn’t matter. The earth and everything in it wasn’t in a rush to become the present we find, not the future we seek. It all plays out exactly how it should.

You meet the people in the order you’re supposed to. And maybe.. just maybe it feels unfair for the destruction of something you love to start the rebirth of the new.
But that’s how it’s always been. Death renews life. You learn to fully appreciate what once was and realize that it had to happen in order for the next phase to begin. Life gives back you what you really need, when you need it. People really do come into your life for a reason.
Respect that, and thank them for being a part of your journey.

I met her out with friends. I vaguely knew her from running, but her fondness for life echoed in every motion she made. She was real, everything she said and did intrigued me.
She wasn’t available, but we we kept in touch, and we half heartedly flirted from time to time.
Fast forward a bit. We finally got together, I fell in love with someone who changed me for the better. I hope I did the same for her. It wasn’t meant to be, but we needed each other. I’m surer of that then I’ve ever been. I’ll forever thank her for getting me to where I needed to be.
I was falling apart when got together you see. Work, running, social life.. out of whack. I’d much rather have stayed in. Alone. I got out, but.. I felt distant from others. She helped lure me back in from my fuzzy and fictitious reality. She reminded me how to live and brought me my life back.

Her last bit of advice, was to get out of my bubble. I liked doing the things I did, the places I went. But..I am predictable. We all are to an extent. We drive the same route, to the same job, eat/drink in our usual spots. We are so bored of life, that most of us use this routine to become drones. We forget the dreams we had. We forget how we wanted to change the world, or at least someone’s world. Instead, we fall in line and do what is expected.
School, job, marriage, kids, blah blah. It works for those that want that. I’m not knocking it if that’s all you ever wanted. I never really wanted that. I want to see what life has to offer. I don’t wanna “settle” for anything. But, I had. I was uncomfortable in life, but not willing to risk it. She reminded me of that. She said to me, before it all ended, that I needed to get my butt back to the mountains. She saw a rebirth in me, one that happens when I get out in nature. The trails have that power. I feel most alive when i am out there. She could see the way it changed me, made me happier.
Mountain/trail life is slower than you expect. The people around it learn to accept that there is no reason to rush. It’s all gonna happen, no matter how fast ya move. You learn to accept that the insignificant fears you had were meaningless. It puts life in perspective, removing the calloused, hardened soul that became who you were.

I witnessed the stillness that makes it all so great. Just sitting back, watching the wildlife living is the most magical that can happen. They have no hatred of anything. They only care about their loved ones. Protecting them, caring for them, and living their lives more freely than any human can understand. I had a semi-irrational fear of bears. Yes, they can kill me, but I was deathly afraid to go where they were. Until I saw the truth in them. Momma bear was stopped on the trail, waiting for her cubs. They were running around, playing, eating, and their childlike ways were fascinating. They wanted nothing more than to be there, present in that moment. Momma, wanted them to follow her. She saw the presence of humans as an annoyance. So, she ordered them up the mountain. She paused in the middle of the trail and looked at us. She looked at her babes, then returned to us. If she could talk, she’d say, “Just give them a moment. We are getting out of your way, but they just don’t listen. You know how kids are” She didn’t want to harm us, or anything for that matter. She wanted her family to be left in the solitude of the mountain, like we all did. We all would do the same for our family.

Why can’t we be like them. Why do we get so confined in the intricate details of our mundane lives that we forget who we are? What material possession is so worthwhile that as a species, we can’t survive without? We work So hard on becoming what others want us to become. We live up to some expectations that mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. But why?

Two things I saw on my journey. That made me smile. There will be more to come and I’ll write more about my journeys. But, for today, these two made me appreciate this craziness of it all.

Zeppelin was playing on the radio. The man, maybe in his 50s, was so far gone and out of his mind from whatever drugs he consumed. He reminded me of Johnny Depp from “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” He sat in his colorful beach chair, whiter than a vampire that hadn’t seen the sun in 200 years. He wanted his picture taken, near the Tinker Cliffs. He repositioned himself closer, to get a better shot. He got nervous how close he was, but, in the drug induced haze, he didn’t realize that he was still 10-15 feet from the edge. My buddy Shawn took the picture. He said, “there’s more Cliffs to get a better view around the corner”, as if he wanted us gone then. That’s when we noticed the two 20somethings sitting on the edge of the cliff. There was a drop down, maybe 8-10 inches wide and a foot or two down. They were smoking weed from their bowl, just shooting the shit. They never even cared that they could have one misstep and fall to their death. They were oblivious to us all. Like the other guy, just deep in the abyss of their imagination from the drugs. No worries at all.

We moved on, figuring this wasn’t the best option anyway. That’s when we saw a guy trying to be the “World’s Best Dad.” You see, he took his daughters for a hike to the top of the Cliffs. 3.5 miles of hiking with his lil ones, and their dog. The 55-60lb adorable, big headed and well behaved mutt. Oh, and he only had 3 legs. So, why you ask, did he try to win the award. Well, he carried the dog on his shoulders like a sandbag. The dog, who had obviously been in this position before, rested peacefully there. He never growled at anyone, didn’t bark when he got picked up, but knew he somehow got to experience something amazing. Thanks to his master. His lil girls were happier than they had the right to be being up there. It’s an arduous hike, even for the most skilled hiker. But, they knew they had each other, their dad, and their best friend up there that day.

Find the good in everything. I know I have her to thank for quite a few things. It may hurt a bit, but I’m in the best place I can be now. I could never have experienced things as I have without her push.

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