Another summer is on the way out. Each summer has its own story and events. Like the days and seasons and years before us one can never know what unexpected happenings will occur. This one was most notable in that it was the first summer since 90 that our son Kerry was not living with us and at the same time likely the last summer our daughter Lorien is with is as she soon departs for the Northwest and the college life that awaits her. A summer of transitions and themes…
I found my summer trajectory focused on running more than I had originally envisioned last spring. Early on my son Kerry conveyed he was interested in running the fabled Imogene Pass Run. A 17 = mile mountain run from Ouray to Telluride held each September. I and Linda have both done it twice. It had not really been in my plans but a few years back when Kerry was interested but unable due to XC I said post high school if was ever inclined I’d do it with him. Sure enough he pulled that card.
All the training has been good though some difficult. Won a alpine race early in June but July found me with a strained calf and little running. With some new shoes (inov-8’s) healing was accelerated and training back into gear. That’s the beauty of a event like Imogene… the running and training leading up to it. I prep myself but have no reason or compulsion to be type A about it. For me its a matter of vitality and strength. If I am not experiencing those then I adjust. Coupled with my martial arts this summer I am doing less milage than in the past yet the longer runs are ever more like silk.
Our bodies and minds thereof are dynamic, and fitness is something you engage each day rather than some mere destination or attainment. Its about experiencing your vitality each day and giving it the appropriate challenge to grow with fluidity. Static liner fitness is a bore. A practice that is both play and discipline, that is fluid and dynamic, that is linked with natural seasons of body and earth not only enables you to enjoy events like Imogene, it enables you to take in with equanimity and joy and strength the other events in your life both easy and hard, joyful and sad, mellow and stressful like no other practice.
This brings me to my thoughts the other day… running a favorite alpine trail with my son on my birthday of 51 years I found myself gliding thru conifer, spruce, aspen; late summer wildflowers about mother earth, father sky above giving gentle rumbles of thunder; a slight breeze carrying the distant scent of rain and balsam from the forest floor rising up before me; my feet lightly touching up on rock and earth and pine needle, my breath steady yet at ease. There was effort yet no struggle…wei wu wei as the taoists call it, the experience of vitality and sight and sense enabled by the gift of movement thru a local of the verse that only a running pace provides.
It occurred to me however, in this day and age how so very few could do and enjoy this act as inherent and as natural to us as the blood in our veins. It reminds me of the words of the ancient Greek Philosopher Socrates “No one has a right to be an amateur in the matter for physical training… What a disgrace it is for a one to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his/her body is capable.”
We are only here for a moment. I remain bewildered and honestly, disgusted, with the disregard the majority show towards health, fitness, strength and the very vitality provided to us to more fully experience this thin place and time we have between earth and sky. Why else are they here? are you here? To generate a good 401K? Pitiful. Sad. Man are they missing out.