The Joy of Staying on the Trail

I wouldn’t consider myself a world class athlete, but I really enjoy getting out in nature and jogging. One of my favorite places in my area to exercise is the Perkiomen Trail. There are signs along the trail that say, “Please stay on trail.” I have taken that to be a challenge to my mental state, not just where I’m at physically. My mind tends to drift when I jog, but I have to say there is nothing better than “staying” on the trail. Being totally aware of how my body feels, my calves, all of the challenging and thrilling sensations of exercise. I love being totally aware when I hit mile seven and my body relaxes and I feel that joy of connection.  Suddenly, I feel as if every sense I own is tuned in. I hear the pounding of my feet, the hitch of my breath, I smell the complicated living and dead smells of the soil and trees. I’m astounded by the immense details of nature, the beautiful sights that otherwise would be passed for the fury in my mind–the play of the river on one side, the wall of black rocks laced with shades of green moss on the other, the changing trees shedding leaves to earth like snowflakes, the animals scurrying about, startled by me even as they sometimes stop to stare. Among other things, I’ve seen a goat, deer–one that ran alongside me for a time, and snakes on this trail. And I see lots of people. Sometimes sour faced and concentrating, other people who smile so honestly at me that I am immediately suffused with good feelings towards them. I once saw two women riding bikes with matching dogs in matching baskets. So cute. When I “stay” on the trail, I see a lot of the same people too, including a man I occasionally high five as we pass each other. We are almost always going in opposite directions. I have no idea what his name is or where he lives. Yeah, there is something to be said for taking the road less traveled, but there’s also something to be said for staying on the trail.

4 thoughts on “The Joy of Staying on the Trail

  1. Great post, Diana. That's a huge part of the pleasure of running for me too: the sights, the smells, the animals if they're out. Something about running on a treadmill watching TV or reading a book is really unappealing to me.

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