I woke up before 11 today, which is always a bonus on Sunday, and managed to avoid the temptation of seven hours alone with the NFL at my house, or in the bars. As usual I drove down to the Black Sheep to pick up a scone for breakfast, and as usual I came away empty handed. This time they actually had a few on stock, but I have no room in my diet for rum raisin, even in an ice cream cone. Another Sunday, another cookie for breakfast.
Back at home I started looking into the USATF trail series for this summer. On the negative side, I realized that the guys who win it seem to be pretty nasty runners, but on the bright side I got pretty psyched for it. I spent a good hour checking out the different races like Wachusett, Loon, Ascutney and Northfield and made a pledge to myself to make a good faith effort to boost my fitness up to the point where I could make a crack at a few top-five finishes up the mountain this summer. Last night, shortly after 2:30am, I was reading from Yvon Chouinard's chronicle of Patagonia's rise to power. In it he gives a brief description of the zen approach to archery. To shoot in the zen manner is not to focus on the target, but rather to make each piece of the technique of shooting the arrow a priority and the target will, as a result of the focus and care taken, become a successfully foregone conclusion. I decided it would be a good idea in life as well. If I can, among other things, run up mountains quickly I should be on track to achieve across the board in life. Now let's find the other things to include among the mountains.
Peace of mind in hand like a hat, I set out on a run down into Cadwell Forest and down the M-M trail into Buffam Falls. I had really hoped to get down into the piney trails of Buffam and maybe see a few creeks in the early winter sunlight, all within a 7 or 8 mile run. The run itself started as planned, stumbling down the M-M toward Amherst Road and across into the Reservoir. The trails felt good throughout, and felt wonderful each time I would happen upon one of those pine stands that seem to increase the winter temperature by 5 degrees, and somehow soften the ground beneath.
I turned around when the trail met the crossing at the confluence of two brooks whose names I need to learn, and after momentarily missing a couple of turns on my way back, I came back up to Meetinghouse Road. Instead of taking the path I came in on I decided to follow a new trail, where I heard some barking dogs enjoying their walk in the near distance. The trail was wider than most, an old road or something, and it followed a brook for about a half mile until it became a reservoir and the trail cut up and to the left. From there on out as each turn failed to reveal a road, or even the distant sound of a car wishing by, I knew I was in for a longer run than I had planned. I finally found the road at just over 52 minutes, and figured I was about three miles from home. I took roads all the way back, and staggered down my driveway at 1:12:35. What today was probably less than ten, felt like the seventeen of old. I guess the zen approach has to start somewhere.
The goal is to write more about politics than running, but I am interested to see how the subject matter asserts itself. I look forward to the day when endorsements are made based on Quabbin Qountry values, when assessments of strength and wisdom are presented with passion and authority, and when I can relate them back to the woods of Western Mass over the warmth of a cold beer. Life is about having adventures and using them to make the bland parts bold. Because being bold is tough to do, but in Quabbin Qountry it is a little bit easier.
Signing off from the M&D with a Piraat and a Kwak,