Running through the forest today, fall was coming to a close. Where in other parts of the States, fresh snow is blanketing the trail, in Southeastern Ohio the last fading leaves are being shaken from their summer abode landing on the soft, damp ground. Pine needles blanket parts of the forest, softening the sound… foreshadowing the softened sound of snowy, winter runs. Logs from the recent wind storms scatter the floor, sometimes needing to hurdle one to follow the path.
As I make my way through Strouds Run State Park, everything I see is declaring winter is soon approaching. Already, the thermometer has hit below freezing marks during the nights in Ohio. Tears roll from my eyes – not an emotion but brought on by the clean, crisp air hitting my face. It is an ethereal feeling, almost as if viewing myself from an outside point of view… sounds of nature filling the forest. Squirrels scatter everywhere, searching and storing their winter food before the ground frosts over. The birds have mostly migrated to warmer climates; cardinals, blue birds, and sturdier fliers are still spotted. Occasionally, a flock of geese will still fly over; hearing them from a long distance, in their well recognized flying V formation. Geese show me the surreal organization that nature presents.
This run was calming, relaxing and tranquil. Every season brings its advantages and there seems to always be a one or two day window where everything is peaking. Perfect weather, lighting, sounds… I remember running in the Shawnee State Forest in the spring – the flowers were just coming out and all the colors were incredibly vibrant. Runs through these moments really define what trail running is all about for me. It is something that both inspires and humbles me. Energizes and slows me down.
Man Calling, Leaf Falling. . .
Foot Splatters, Squirrel Chatters. . .
Finger Feeling, Tree Kneeling. . .
Ear Listens, Water Glistens. . .
Heart Pounding, Earth Surrounding. . .