Guest blogger Ryan Leventhal ’23 writes about the flow of the runner, the comfortable rhythm that mimics life itself.
The trail is sacred. When we enter it, we enter an echo of the distant world that our ancestors inhabited. When we run down the trail, we leave our old world behind.
There is a comfortable rhythm for the runner. A natural flow that comes and goes as we run. It is a flow that only we know, it is ours, it is special. This is the flow we are running to; and as we run, we feel the eddies and whirlpools of our lives being left behind. For us, running is our daily meditation as we break from the world.
See the trail as we do. The early morning fog slowly lifting as we leave it behind. Or the pale evening rays of the setting sun piercing branches and bushes. The smell of the trees and the grass is in our nose. The sound of the water and the wind is in our ears. The rocks dig into the soles of our shoes. Our hair blows in the wind that we make. For a brief moment we are alone in the world that is ours to walk.
Each run is a different day of our lives, some wracked with hardship and pain, others filled with joy and laughter. As we pass each mile marker we may begin each day anew, if we choose. The end of the run is an ending of relief and sadness. In the course of our run we were allowed to grow, and now that must end. We are left with the memories of the woods and the roads: brief tantalizing moments of utter perfection which were only ours to see. We will carry these memories until tomorrow, when we can begin again.
It is now dark, and some are still out running. We have returned to the world though to bask in the comforts of modernity. We sit on our couch to watch the news, to finish our work, or to just recover. We praise ourselves for a job well done or recant the horrors of our latest workout. But we are done running for today, and each moment is tinged with a sad disappointment. Miles of trials, trials of miles have been brought to an end and we are left still wanting, still waiting. For a moment we were free, and we will not be again until we gently lace up our shoes and depart onto the trail before us.