"You know, sometimes it is the artist's task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left."
Flowing down one of the few "plush" sections of the Appalachian Trail in Maine, I find myself ruminating on the way that running has grown in my life. When I began writing this blog - seems like a long time ago at this point - and then subsequently stopped writing anything, I was really just beginning this journey of running. I suppose I ran for years before that, but never very seriously, and rarely more than sporadically.
Since those blog postings of long ago, there have been many adventures, many ups and downs, many struggles, hardships, a few injuries, and some juggling of geographic locations. I have since moved from Portland, Oregon, to State College, PA, and most recently to The Middle Of Nowhere, Maine. At some point this fall I will likely be moving again.
Somehow, through all of this (I can think of no other word for it) Insanity, running has continued to play a growing part in my life. I often catch myself thinking that it is the only piece of existence that consistently makes sense - no matter where I am or what is going on in my life, there is always a trail or winding road nearby that I can retreat to and invoke that oldest of human traditions.
More than 'a way to stay in shape,' running (much like any other discipline) is a way of art and spirituality. There is creativity in the movement, a great struggle and growth in the discipline. You will receive as you give, grow as you love, and find yourself stronger with each step into the mountain of experience - even those wandering steps that doubt if there is any courage or joy left, for these are questions that must be lived through.
On the trail, I am stripped to my core - the self without the expectations and disappointments of life, without the endless monologue of the mind. Removed from the spiderwebbed stories I weave through all of my relationships and histories, I am free to fully embrace the present moment: the rocky trail ahead, the gliding footsteps, the circling breath.
"I roamed the countryside, searching for answers to things I did not understand."
-Leonardo Da Vinci
Whatever your art, I hope that you pursue it with joy and courage.