Wednesday, December 29, 2010

365 steps.....

365 Steps....

Today is another step. 363 have been taken this year. Two more to go till....

As I take time to reflect on those 363 steps I stop all this is trying to interfere with the moment. I add up my running miles for the year and find that my footsteps have taken me over 1,700 miles and to some very interesting places. I am now closer to the half way point…..of my third circumnavigation of the earth….by foot.

We all have a personal highlight reel for the past twelve months of our existence. It is our natural tendency to sit back and recall all those great and wonderful moments in our year...our 365 steps...that quickly jump to the front of our personal queue. Our great finishes in our 10k's or marathons as well as those strong 100 mile century bike races. Or simply quite walks in the forest or park.

We also smile when we wallow in our personal or professional accomplishments. Relationships maintained or enhanced, children guided thru life's wickets & thickets, and a career or job maintained in the toughest of times.

I smile my own little smile as I think of my personal ledger of my 363 steps. I first think of so many of you who shared those steps with me. Those days...those hours...those minutes we have run...ridden...walked and crawled over all manners of mountains to the flaming sand hills of a sultry North Carolina summer together.

On a rainy day in June my teammates-Team Little Guy ( finished a ride that touched all the military bases in NC. It was an amazing 230 mile journey that ended at Camp Lejeune--where we presented a check for $178,000 to the Wounded Warriors organization. So many people so generously donated to this wonderful organization. So many will benefit. I will never forget those days.

Yet not all of those steps were glorious or fun filled. There were moments of sadness and disappointment that lined the asphalt where some of my steps landed. Yet, like all of you, decisions needed to be made about those moments that took us to the deep and dark bottom of our valleys. Arms needed to reach high for the ledge above in order to pull that shoe stuck in the morass below.

Yet somehow we found the will to find the strength and desire to reach for that plateau again. We learned from the pratfalls and pitfalls along our chosen paths. We sucked it up and pushed forward. No regrets along the way. It was not easy. It never is. Yet life’s greatest moments come from the strength gathered from those wicked places.

I found the greatest of nature in the wilds of Banff National Park in Canada. We hiked thru snowfields and became one in nature. I also admired a small flower bed hidden amongst the masses in downtown Shanghai. Its beauty radiated thru the concrete urban jungle. Large or small…. nature rules the earth where we are but temporary tenants, who must water, care and love our patch of life.

I smile again as I think of all my steps. However, those steps are now finished. I close that chapter and look toward the bend in the road that will bring 2011 and 365 more steps and paths to follow.

I will watch for all of you as we cross paths and share tall tales and the fruit of the vine together. I am blessed to have so many wonderful friends & I look forward the new friendships that await. Run & ride well my friends as you live your life to the fullest!

Y'all….Make Dust!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter Run......

The 1st steps were treacherous.

Uphill on early snow/ice from a mountain night of winter mix.

This was not expected. Early December in the mountains of southwest Virginia are usually cool—but not cold. The real glimpses of winter come in January or February. Early December snow is just that—too early.

I run up through a back woods path from our cabin that is frozen over and rutty. I look down with each step and try to plan each foot strike as to not turn an ankle or slip and fall on my butt. The path angles up as it runs up near the Blue Ridge Parkway.

On any given day…in normal weather this is an easy run…..the only obstacles are the cars driving along America’s most visited National park. Not today.

I am alone.

On wintry days the Parkway is closed to visitors as it is not plowed or sanded. The curves in the shady areas are skating rinks when the road freezes over. The squirrels slip & slide as they cross the ice. On this day I am alone on this national treasure.

As I gingerly inch forward step-by-step I hear the snow and ice crack under my foot strikes. I hear nothing else. The total silence is pure and cold. I look through the naked trees and see further into the forest. I feel the forest eyes looking at me as I run down the middle of the snowy Parkway.

I find myself lost in the moment as I am totally absorbed in this perfect winter morning moment. I am transformed into a perfect place. My senses are pure. I am elevated into a moment of perfection. I want this moment to go on forever.

It doesn’t.

I slip and fall on my ass. The distant creatures giggle. I am not alone.

This winter day……Made Dust……

I will not forget it.