Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The road through the forest stretches out seemingly into infinity. Each step takes you closer to the end and simultaneously further from home. 

Perhaps this is the beautiful contradiction of running; it's liberating and debilitating all at once. You run TOWARDS but you also run AWAY. 

From what? Fear? Regret? Perhaps also the fleeting transience of it all; a sense that a day will come, sooner than you think, when you finally run out of road? 


The sun streams through the tops of trees, each shaft creating a pool of light where it makes contact with the ground. At one point along the way, from a small makeshift hut in a clearing, there is always the smell of burning wood; and I'm instantly transported to another time and place: A very specific place from my childhood, where a grandmother busies herself around a wood burning stove. 

Amazing how just a smell can drag out specific scenes from long-forgotten vaults full of uncomplicated memories.


Perhaps it all starts as a search for a story. But sometimes the search itself becomes a story. Maybe it is always the greatest story of all; the quest for meaning. The greatest reward lies in the struggle to understand. 


Regardless of the route, the mind always encounters people, places and sounds it loves. It's no different for me; even though music streams through my headphones, the real soundtrack consists of other more familiar sounds: a son's innocent laughter, a wife's gentle encouragement, a mother's comforting voice. 

These are the sounds I live for, the ones I will always return to. Long after the sun sets for the final time and the stars are swallowed up by the sky. 


"What's the matter?", the voice asks. "I can't find a story", I say. "Ah, you've come to the right place. Every tree and blade of grass here has a story; it's just a matter of listening." 

The birds sing their evening songs as the sun drops like a stone. My body longs for my bed, and my heart longs for home. But even when the body sleeps; the mind stays awake and tells itself stories. 


"How about this one", the voice says, as we stop by a tree lying on it's side, its stump sticking out of the ground in the shape of a cross. It's as if the tree's last act before it died was to mark its own grave. 

The shadows lengthen as dusk approaches, and in the distance a couple of deer dance in the long grass. 

"Or maybe this one?", says the voice as we look at a flower with a dozen colours, peeking out of a rock. 


My feet keep pace with the beat of my heart. Or maybe it's other way around. Or maybe both my feet and my heart are both just in step with the gentle rhythm of the universe. Is this what it feels like to feel truly alive? 

Everything in sync. The natural order of things. 

There might be a simpler explanation for why I feel the way I feel. It's the predictability. The knowledge that despite all the choas and uncertainty of life on this beautiful, broken planet, all I need to do is take one step at a time and I can keep moving forward. One step at a time. 


I reach the end of my journey for now. It is time to head home. 

"I'll be back soon", I say. "I will bring my son and show him this tree, and those deer, and that flower. I'll remind him that marvels lurk in every nook and cranny. I'll teach him to never lose his sense of wonder; that look in his eyes when he points at a plane leaving trails in the sky and calls it a rocket." 

"Ok. I'll be right here, waiting", says the forest, softly.

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