The wonderful thing about living in the mountains is that on any given day you can go out and re-center yourself. Breathe in the fresh air around. Listen to and create a silence within yourself. This is so important in our crazy busy lives. When I finish a week with three soccer practices, cross country meets, appointments, car problems, homeschooling, and running errands I am physically tired and mentally drained. When my feet hit the pavement of the road outside my house, I can begin to feel my body unwinding. It helps that a fair amount of the trails are downhill from my house. Once I reach the gravel road I notice the sound of my feet meeting the gravel and I begin to feel the mountains rising up around me. This is the ground reminding me that for each and every action in my life there is an equal and opposite reaction. As I am pushing against the Earth, it is push back against me giving me strength with every step. When I reach the compacted earth trail, interspersed with rocks, I can feel the energy of the earth pushing out the worries and the stresses of the week. The trees encircle the trail and me with energy and oxygen. The steep rocky portions of the trail open up onto mountaintop fields that take my breath away and give it back each and every time I run. As I come back into the forest the downhill welcomes me back to my childhood, and I run with my arms loose and a smile on my face. Each sharp turn gives a burst of energy. Coming back up toward my house is the steepest part of my routes and it reminds me that there is always a challenge ahead; but I also know that I have already conquered other challenges and the ability to summit those small mountains has also given me the strength to make this final push home.
I breathe deeply the last few minutes of my run, soaking in the peace and strength of the mountain around me, knowing that although I will walk into a house full of noise I am ready for it.