Thursday, January 14, 2010

Euphoria in the Valley

eü·phö’ri·a, n [Mod. L., from Gr. euphoria, the power of bearing easily. From euphoros bearing well; eu- well, and pherein, to bear.] a feeling of well-being; especially in psychology, an abnormal feeling of buoyant vigor and health. 

I guess I was feeling abnormal after my run today… 

After a long spell of some snow and then arctic temperatures, the omen of 50 degrees tempted me back onto my trails—the same trails I had been out on with cross country skis not two weeks before.  My one previous running trial just two days before had yielded a dead end when, reaching an early stream crossing where high waters and icy rocks ruled, I was obliged to go back tracking.  So today, I avoided that crossing, taking another route, determined to make one of my favorite loops, albeit slightly abbreviated.  Being careful of several initial icy patches, the high route on the Patapsco ridge proved clear.  In fact, it was so clear on this fourteenth day of January that I had a strange association.  The stark towering trees joined with the dirt path and brown leaves surrounding caused me to recall the same feeling I had as a child receiving the ashes on that seventh Wednesday before Easter:  “Remember man that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.”  Yes, nature, too, must experience death in the cycle of life.  At forty-eight, I still feel pretty young, most days.  But being a realist keeps a sober edge.
I continued on.  As the sinewy path ebbed and flowed back around the ridge into the valley many more ice patches kept me on guard.  All the sudden, it was winter again.  In the white beauty that shone around me, I again had an interesting notion.  The White Witch of Narnia fame was haunting beautiful as is the snow and the ice that visit habitable places in season.  But in the momentary wonder, the hope of spring is always somewhere lurking in the background.  We can bear the cold and the isolation because there is always hope of warm sun and greener days.  When a gorgeous ice falls jumped into my view, I had to shout, “Thank you, Lord!” and what else could be said?  The slippery path slowed my pace and the crisp wind warmed my cheeks.  Buoyant vigor and health should be the norm of our existence.  But then, like the seasons, sometimes the change in scenery helps sharpen senses and deepen our appreciation for the important things of life…

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