Who would have thought that you could experience the perfect trail run in Oklahoma City? Maybe in the Rocky Mountains or something like that, but Oklahoma? Well, lets just say, it worked for me.
If I had been born into an Eastern religious culture, I might have thought I could have closed my eyes and became one with nature the other day. Of course I wouldn't try that because I know that closing my eyes on the trail would mean...Thud!...Collision with a tree, falling off a cliff, or tripping on a root and my face becoming one with the trail (that's about as close to being one with nature as I will ever be, and believe me it has happened a few times). But I have just been having the best trail runs ever lately, and the other day's run was worthy of a description.
Remember "Magic Eye" images where if you stare at the blob long enough, and focus (or un-focus, whatever the case may be), you begin to see a three-dimensional image. You finally see it, just for a moment, and then lose it again. Well, it was almost like that as I ran the other day, except it was all my senses at the same time merging together to form some sort of "sixth sense". Now I know I'm freaking someone out, so before it gets worse, let me just try to describe the run.
Obviously I have started running again, and I have been running almost entirely at Bluff Creek Trails behind Hefner Lake. Bluff Creek is a 3.5 mile trail. It was primarily designed for mountain biking it appears, but there are quite a few joggers and hikers who use the trails. In fact, I have posted about races I have ran at Bluff Creek. My first race after becoming a "serious runner" took place there (picture below)in the winter time, so it has been rather special to me.
It is almost hidden and unknown by most, but with all the new construction going on, it is sure to become more advertised and more frequented very soon. Regrettably, this is an unfortunate fate for the trails as I have already seen a fluctuation in the amount of trash on the trail. I filled up a bag of trash on one of my runs last week. Of course this got me a very strange look from a mountain biker on the trail as I ran along with my bag of trash flapping behind me. I was, however, rewarded with a "Coffee Slingers" coffee mug that I found on the trail. I don't know what it was doing there, but I had passed it many times and figured since I was picking up trash, it would be my reward.
Anyways, in this little "World inside the World" one can escape the monotonous city life and have a little "mini vacation" any time they want. I feel so refreshed and revived and alive after a brisk run or even a slow jog through those woods. But the other day's run there was arguably the best run I have ever had. I didn't time it and have no idea how fast I was running, but that wasn't important.
I jogged from the car to the start of the trail. As I entered the canopy of trees, I realized how refreshingly cool the air was inside. Then I almost jumped out of my shoes when the lime-green vine that I almost stepped on started to slither across the trail. Surprisingly, that was the first snake I have ever seen at Bluff Creek.
It wasn't long before I had gotten into a rhythm. My feet crunching on the twigs, leaves, and pine needles; my breathing matching those crunches. The occasional squirrel or rabbit would scurry away from the trail and distract me for a moment, but mostly I stayed focused on the sounds, the smells, etc.
I didn't see any deer on this particular run which is usually the highlight of my outing. And I didn't search the sides of the trail for the various species of mushrooms. (Not that I could name even one of the species since I barely passed Biology class. In fact, if I remember right, the only reason I passed was because I made a poster or chart or something for extra credit, but I digress). So what was it that made this experience so unique? I can't really say.
All I know is that the singing and calling of the birds was so majestic That I began to focus deeply on those sounds. It began to sprinkle, and as the occasional drop of moisture rolled from the leaves above and landed on my skin, the cool on my body was so vivid that I focused heavily on that sensation as well. Then there was the smells of pine needles, honey sickles, and even the rotting wood. It was so wonderful that I seemed to breathed in deeper and deeper each breath trying to take it all in. Perhaps I was breathing in too deeply and began hyperventilating. Or perhaps, due to my heavy breathing, I was sucking in particles of the wrong type of mushrooms...I don't know, but the experience was crazy and surreal!
No, I didn't become one with nature, and I wasn't carried off by the angels to Nirvana. However, along with the heightened senses and the sort of "out-of-body" experience, I couldn't help but to think about the Creator of all that is in this tiny "world inside a world". The Creator of my senses that could take it all in and experience it all in this way. The world outside this world, and on and on...
I couldn't help but to remember this verse from the Bible:
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? Psalm 8:4