Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Off My Trail

It was summer. I don't remember what year, but Mom was still alive and cancer wasn't on anyone's mind. I was getting back into the swing of things - I was getting back to my run.

The "run" has never been an intense one. It is three miles from my kitchen door, to the baseball field and back. It's my route. It's what I do when I am ready to get back to me. I had a good routine going, but as it was getting warmer, I realized it was time for me to get up a little earlier to ensure my continued success.

I woke before my mother, grabbed my iPod, put my sneakers on and told my dog (Chewy, at the time) that these sneakers were not for her this time.

Out the door, ear buds in, pick the pace. One - two - one - two - one - two... there it is. Breathing is steady and the early morning dew helped the air coat my lungs. I thought, "Getting up early was a great idea!" The music blared in my ears, but the neighborhood still slept.

As I turned toward home I felt like a well-oiled machine, I was at one with every muscle in my body, with the air around me, with the ground below me. It was a beautiful morning, a magnificent run, and I didn't want it to end. It is for this reason, I chose to take a slight detour off my regular route just over a quarter of a mile from my home. I had reached the block that borders the Greenbelt Natural Reserve. I decided on this morning, I should complete my run with dirt beneath my feet instead of asphalt. I wanted to feel the Earth.

I jogged in, at first watching my feet closely, fearing I would trip on a fallen branch or slip on a muddy patch. Then I stopped and realized I needn't worry if all my senses were attuned. I grabbed my ear buds and, as the silence of the world enveloped me, I looked up into his eyes.

He was five feet in front of me and entirely too comfortable with my presence. I was a gawky, bumbling two-legged human who had mistakenly believed she captured grace during this morning run until I was caught in his gaze, looking upon his majestic antlers and witnessing his regal stance. Without understanding my own movements, I bowed to the young buck and backed out of his realm. He watched me take a number of steps before continuing to graze.

As I emerged from the dense woods, the sun seemed much brighter than how I had left it and, with my ear bids out of my ears I could hear that the neighborhood had risen. The magic of my morning had already passed. I looked over my shoulder, squinting back into the woods to see if the buck was still there, but he was created to be unseen in such situations... The physical evidence of my beautiful moment was gone, all that was left was a euphoric feeling throughout all my limbs.

I stepped back onto the the asphalt, put my ear buds back in and picked a new pace. I floated home as the neighborhood continued to dream away in a reality that missed the natural beauty in their midst.

This post was writ­ten for the Red Writ­ing Hood Prompt: This week's Red Writing Hood assignment is to write - fiction or non-fiction - about a time when you took a detour.


  1. What a fantastic detour. You described the scene in a way that made me want to go for a run. And I do not run. Ever :)

    Visiting from TRDC.

  2. Thanks Jennie, that's probably because I haven't gone for a run in so long myself that the romanticism is all that drips from my memories of it these days! ;)

  3. This makes me want to start running if only to run into a beautiful deer. Well written!

  4. Thanks Kim. The "meeting" was so serendipitous ~ the following week the deer in those woods were captured and transported to a larger natural reserve in upstate New York because they were getting too comfortable with humans and putting themselves in dangerous situations! I am happy to know that "my" buck was given that opportunity before bursting out onto a busy street at the wrong moment...

  5. I'm with JennieB. I've never thought about running anywhere until I read your post, but now I'm considering it. You made it sound so necessary. Sorry about your mom.

  6. At first I thought you ran into a guy and I was scared for you! What an amazing sight. Love the ending about the neighborhood having no idea what was just beyond them.

  7. Oh I was so afraid you were running into a serial killer! SO glad it was a beautiful buck instead. I loved the line about you bowing, I feel like I have done the same thing when unexpectedly reminded that I, as human am actual treading on others territories.

  8. This was so beautifully written! I could really *feel* your energy and soul soothing happening!

  9. Cheryl and whispatory,
    You guys are cracking me up, because that was my mother's and, then boyfriend's (now husband) reaction! They both yelled at me for my "detour" saying that I was crazy, that I could have been raped, kidnapped or gotten hurt and NO ONE would have known where to look for me! I had to solemly swear that I would never, EVER do that again! Which made me really sad, because after that day and experience I thought that I would really enjoy trail running 100 times more than running through my neighborhood!

    I am so glad you felt it. For me both running and swimming are very much like whole body meditations. I haven't been able to partake in either in quite some time since I got sick, but I constantly dream of them both on my horizon!

    Thank you so much EVERYONE for all the great feedback so far!! This was my first ever meme attempt and I KNOW it won't be my last!! :)