Saturday, February 4, 2012


"You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know." Rene Daumal

It's difficult to understand at first; the why, the how, the implied senselessness of it all. It at first seems like a silly luxury for those that have too much free time, too few desires to compete in life outside of the stillness of the forest; the money, the shiny toys and trinkets, and a status that in reality is an illusion. But there is an order to things when I'm alone out there. It is a place where I seem to have the most control of my life. I run and run, and at some point there is no turning back. There is no "Did Not Finish", no quitting because of pain or lack of desire. It is this simple: Run in and then run out. There are variables to contend with; my ever aching knees, the nightmare factory in my head that breaks my rhythm, sometimes for hours, the stillness that is both a blessing and a curse. I have been taught some of the greatest lessons of my life on those weekend runs.

Last weekends twenty mile run wasn't about the physical challenge. It was about the sin of omission, about the shattering of something so fragile to the touch, and the only way that I could deal with it in the coming weeks was to build armor, to create scar tissue where none had existed, to provide the soul, whatever that may be, with a store of strength and will that so far has kept me from turning the saw blades upon myself. I have, as the quote says, learned that there is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. My 'higher up' is the Appalachian Trail and it impregnates me with the resolve to face the pain I need to face with a clear mind and a clear belief in what I am capable of. The twenty mile run not only proved to me that I will run 26.2, 31, and then 50, but also gave me hope that the destructive and self destructive way I have met the world for 46 years may have finally been put to rest.

On a lighter note...

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