That first tentative step onto the trail pushes against me like the weight of the world. The reverberation goes through me like lightning and energizes me as my pace quickens. It’s just me and the beauty of nature that engulfs me, swallows me whole like a modern-day Jonas. Sweet is that which sings with no words or music. I’m alone on a solitude journey for a moment in time away from the hectic world that awaits me. Leave me here. Let me be. I need this for my sake.
This run may well be my last, so I should make it count. My muscles tense, my breath labors, and the sweat forms and reluctantly drifts away from me as vapor. I savor the feeling. Here, alone, I am one with the challenge that awaits me. The obstacles that stand before me shall be overcome by perseverance. That elusive euphoria will be mine no matter how ephemeral it may be.
I am blind to the world around me except for these trees, this trail, this verdant world seemingly far-removed from my other life. No one will save me should I stumble, no one needs to do so. I am here to conquer that which seems impossible, that which gives new life. I breathe. I live.
The rocks, the switchbacks, and the incongruous hills await my next steps. I chew them up and spit them out. They’ve done nothing to quell my desire. I push again and again. Like an unrequited love, I cannot help myself.
The low-lying fog retreats against my advance thinning to reveal deciduous bareness and conifer persistence in the face of a winter that has suppressed the vibrancy of this lonely trail. The cold nips at me and eschews my temerity to stamp my presence in the damp earth beneath my feet. I pay no heed.
The stream gurgles along the trail and reaches a roar as I get nearer. It awaits me, challenges me. The last obstacle it is. The last great hope of this natural world to deter me. It fails. I jump and quicken my pace, leaving it to swirl alone is this vast but beautiful woodland. I can feel the mud from its sides caked on my calves. I breathe harder knowing that I have conquered it. The thrill of the chase has spawned a feeling like no other.
This world isn’t foreign or threatening. I am one with it, enshrined in its altar. I’m not a spiritual person, but this is my temple, my place of peace. I come here to get away, to enjoy the silence and beauty of a different world than that which I normally traverse. This is my second love. I will come back again to worship this heavenly environ. I must for it calls to me like the siren of the seas, and I come running like a lonesome sailor. There can be no quenching of this thirst for it runs eternal and so do I.