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Tuesday, June 9, 2015


The season has changed. And with the warm weather the leaves turn to deep green. The sun has gone from low on the horizon to its powerful arc high above, sending waves of heat and sunbeams between the trees. The creeks have changed, from raging torrents, to slow trickles. The snowless mountain peaks release their ground water from between the roots.

And so I run. My feet landing gently on the hardening ground, once covered in frost, now becoming firm as the dry earth cracks, beckoning and begging for the sky to quench its thirst with rain. But it does not come. We experience one of the driest Springs in history. The Pacific North West, accustomed to the rain forest humidity, smells more of drying pine, baked soil and endless dust.

The Iron Knee race flows swiftly by. I run it with a carefree approach and enjoy it's undulating rhythm along the Baden Powell trail. It's my third year on the course, and despite my early season goals of pushing, a hip injury has slowed my pace to match the meandering waters of the streams that cross its path. Slow, relentless, and weak but unwavering.

But a few days later, Survival of the Fittest race in Squamish, where the trails have claimed my spirit on more than one occasion, I toe the starting line. Uncertain. But determined. I run and accept the pain of my body not being as I'd hoped. I know the edge of the envelope that will push me to further injury, and stay on this side of discomfort. The heat is relentless but I flow through the trails like a meandering and ever drying stream of water.

We gather a few weeks later. To conquer an epic quest of the North Shore Mountains. The Hanes Valley. Notorious for claiming the lives of the unprepared. It's beauty like a siren's song that lures those within it's fold, never to return. The morning sun rises, and by the time we reach the rocky slopes of the mountain scree, deep in the back country, the sun has changed from a warm greeting to a beastly dragon that breathes down on us and beats its wings with hot gusts that sap the strength of many.

I'm falling apart. The water in my body won't hold. The fuel which I feed my cells won't take. I persevere. Rolling over the rocks and roots and stumps. Moving along the paths with trees that stare down, and have little care for our plight or for our wonder. The stream has stopped. The moisture of the water has all but evaporated. Only the heat remains.

And so I no longer run. There is nothing left. The earth of my being cracks. The systems that generate life and laughter have blown away and I lie there, drought filled. My body becomes my enemy.
Not even water, the giver of life stays within me and I once again fall victim to the place I love the most. The mountain, the forest, and the sun has claimed me once again.

. . . and so I run.

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