Sunday, December 19, 2010

Getting to know the foot step and one paddle stroke at at time.

Mt Tzouhalem trail run (with shoes on this time - the ground was frozen!).
At the top, right hand side of the blog is a quote (in green) by Annie Dillard. I came across it this morning and I've been thinking about it a great deal.

Annie, (I hope she wouldn't mind me calling her by her first name), won a Pulitzer Prize in 1975 for her book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. It's a series of her reflections on the natural world as she spends a year wandering around the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I just downloaded it to my Sony Reader and can't wait to get to it. The above quote comes from this book.

It's so true...and we forget. We are on this planet just once, and for such a short time. As I transition through my middle years into the time when stores now occasionally offer discounts (presumably for what they may interpret as accumulated "wisdom", as suggested by my trim, but greying beard!), the greater the sense of urgency I experience to "get a feel for the place". The place, to use Annie's word, is this fragile sphere that is silently racing through space at about 30 kilometres per second.

Paddling Sansum Narrows towards Vesuvius on Salt Spring Island,
just across the water from home.
We have had the opportunity to travel and live abroad and as much as we would like to do more of that in the future, I find myself increasingly content to get to know the planet step by step, paddle stroke by paddle stroke. There is hardly anything more enjoyable than running on the mountain we live so close to. All senses become attuned to the sounds and smells and visual images, the varying textures and tastes of the Earth. There is nothing on any stage, screen, TV, or computer monitor that can compare. At least I don't think there is.

How so important it is that we teach our children the lessons that the planet offers by encouraging them to explore and discover and nurture a deep appreciation for the world "outside". The same, of course, for all of us. What a shame it would be to "leave", having never "arrived".

Gotta go and prepare the chia, lime, water, and agave drink for the morning run!



  1. Yes one could travel all over this planet and get to know it's beauty and vastness but I think one can also spend their lifetime getting to know just a very small piece of it. Either way this is one awesome place which is constantly changing so each day is a new beginning to get to know it.

  2. Thanks L. You're sure right about that. Exploring this island alone would take countless lifetimes! When we run in the morning, we rarely see another human being. There's about 80,000 people here in the valley. Where the heck are they? Kind of a shame to live a lifetime and miss this "place". Ah well, maybe they believe in "reincarnation" and plan to take it all in the "next" time around. Sigh...D.

  3. Well Duncan, when you run most people are still sleeping...try a little later in the day and I am sure you will see others!

  4. Thanks for the insight for my future greying beard age! You also reminded me I gotta try to get back into running.

  5. Well, that's a thought L, but I'm not convinced. And what's not to love about early in the morning? :)

    Thanks for comin' by, Lee. I'm sure envious of that dry suit - I know we'd head out a lot more often. Ahh, maybe one day...