Sunday, January 22, 2012

Called Unto the Mountain

Flat Rock Ridge - 3 Miles Up

I was summoned to the mountain today. I hadn't really planned on going out there today, nor really planned anything too specific for my run. Something between 8 and 18 miles, which Alison thought was quite a range. Any mountain run is at least 20-30 minutes away. But Flat Rock Ridge Trail was calling to me. This trail, and the others it links to, is about 28.5 miles away in the middle of nowhere and therefore more than a 30 minute drive. I listened to Mumford and Sons on the drive and by the time I got there, I was bursting from my cage. The air was damp and clouds hung on the mountainside in layers as I ascended through them. I was where I belonged. A changing combination of dirt, leaves, rocks, roots, logs, grass, and ice under foot, all often off camber. Trail runner is probably one of the better descriptors of me. Add in mountain and harsh and you are really starting to have me pegged.

I could probably stop there, but most may not understand what I am saying. I'd consider myself an odd mixture of homo sapien. I don't see it as either positive or negative, it just is. To expand, I once thought I was road runner. I was a runner. I ran quite a few road races. Most of my training was on the road. A road has rather straight lines. When there are curves, they are generally smooth arcs. A hard, stable surface is the norm. Conformity, predictability are the standard. My friends are already thinking that's not him. Nothing against road running, it's just not for me if I have a different choice. Of course sometimes things necessitate road running, but even then I'll sneak of the edge at almost every chance. Deep inside or on the surface, I'm a trail runner, mountainous and harsh.

But aren't trails more forgiving to us? I'd like to think so. I believe trails are gentler on the body. Though, I also believe trails make us stronger. Steep climbs and descents leave legs weary. I like it that way. Weary legs one day will be stronger for a future day. Treacherous footing works our entire bodies and mind. One must always be paying attention on a challenging trail. I like switchbacks, up or down. But I do appreciate a trail straight up or straight down a steep grade, harsh. A good mountain trail can look much different depending on your projection up or down. Those switchbacks can turn into never ending upward turns one after another. Or a punishing acceleration/deceleration recitation on a downward plunge. Eighteen percent grades don't look kind in either direction to most, though I'd beg to differ. A hard, strenuous trail to some is a challenging playground to another.

I think a good mountain trail describes me as a person quite well. I'm not for everyone. I'm not easily definable with clear lines, nor smooth arcs. I think of myself as meek, forgiving, though some would say harsh. I'd say harsh, but in a good way. I'll call it blunt, direct. Don't ask for an answer you may not want, cause I may give it. A good trail does that to me. If I complement or praise, I meant it and it was deserved, earned. I don't throw many things about freely, though hopefully grace like a rain shower. I'm probably full of treacherous footing of pointy thoughts, slippery slopes, hard realities. I contain many a switchback, which may look completely different depend on the direction and speed you come at me. As a trail is not always neatly ordered, I am a mixture of grades and footing, unpredictable. I've come to like these qualities about myself, but like them or not, they are what I am. I am a “good” and “bad” Christian all in the same switchback. I could no more pretend that I'm a road runner than a straight and narrow Christian. Maybe I'm a trail Christian. My path is crooked, more like a good mountain trail. Maybe that's why the mountain was beckoning me today.

No comments:

Post a Comment