Posted by: Noni | April 19, 2010

Blazing trails… Figuratively and Literally

I’ve been running for about a month now. Despite having had slow results the first few weeks (I actually gained both weight and inches) I stuck with the program and am finally realizing some benefits. Each day a get a little faster and run a little farther. I haven’t gotten bored of the route yet since there is a myriad of trails that interconnect and traverse through my little woods.

The other day I was thinking about how running is like life. Sometimes we have to do something that isn’t very satisfying yet uses huge amounts of our resources. At first glance we think… “why am I doing this?” “It’s not even getting me anywhere”

But as time progresses we do notice the positive effects and can feel the difference with each passing day. I’m particularly lucky since my daily jaunt takes me into a place where I can enjoy nature. I notice the buds on the trees and think, next week these will all be bright green leaves.

We had a storm last week and several trees blew down making it difficult to pass in some areas. I thought about making a new route to skirt around a huge blockage and the idea that someone had been the first to make each trail started to sink in. Each day I passed only a few people but the trails were well worn. Obviously more than a few folks used this park. But who blazed the original trails?

It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to create a new route if you haven’t done it before so… I got the crazy idea to start a new path. There was one particular trail that I went down frequently. It seemed to end at a gully and creek bed. I decided that I would cross the creek and continue on the other side. I figured that eventually I would either meet another trail or come out on the main road somewhere. I could tell from the sun that I was headed due south.

After a short trek in sparsely spread undergrowth I came to a section that was a bit more challenging. The bushes were slightly prickly and were getting closer together making it harder to pass through. Yup, this is definitely trail blazing. I realized that I should have had some sort of machete or knife to cut back the foliage but didn’t sweat about it too much since I doubted that anyone else would have followed this ridiculous path.

After increasing frustrations, scratches and snags on my jacket I finally got to a point where I could see condos through the trees. Yeah!!! I was close to getting back to civilization. Ironically the last 100 meters of my journeys progress was painfully slow. Just as in film production… it’s easy to get started. You roll along making strides and capturing your vision but at the end… things seem to get complicated. You have to backtrack to recover items missed or lost, the terrain you raced over earlier is now a faint memory and you have no idea how you got where you are… You begin to realize that the trail blazed by the first guy was cut that way for a reason. Sometimes trying something new leads to dead ends and failures but every so often you arrive at a stunning vista and the strained efforts diminish as you bask in the glory of your discovery.

Today I made the following observances:

Moss blanket – in winter to keep the trees warm, spring to bring comfort for the returning birds and a source of material for their nests.

Roots across path – natures way of making it easier to climb up steep muddy slopes. Whether foot hold or hand grips, they give solid alternative to sinking in muck.

Shoots springing up – the shapeless green spikes from yesterday reveal shiny leaves that have unfurled today. Blooms will follow next week…

And lastly, having satisfied my urges to “blaze” new trails I am content with sticking to the established ones. We all have areas of expertise and specialty, mine is not is in exploring the woods.

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