I wrote a story once before. A narrative nonfiction filled with beautiful details about my favorite spot on the beach and the sand, my pen tapping to the beat of the joggers passing by. I say it's beautiful only because my teacher loved it so much that she let me turn it in five times in one year; she gave me a hundred every time, saying it gave her goosebumps.
Well, turns out that the one detail I remember most about that narrative was the way that I look at the beach. The sand, it holds me up with each grain cleansing me while the shore stands guard with each wave crashing upon my troubles not letting them get to me in time to disturb my thoughts and my writing; all the while I sit patiently under a palm tree. I watch, think and write.
Just so happens that I haven't been able to do that in three years and the pain of not seeing a beach, a shore or simply something that isn't man made in so long is deteriorating my insides. I crave for something real.
Around here the only thing that's real is God, but the family says that's it's freaky how much God I crave, so sometimes I settle for the next best thing-- a trail that weaves through and wraps around the city of Plano.
When I was young, between the ages of 8 and 12, I would ride my bike on the trail for hours and then stop on the way home with the boys (yes, I was a little tomboy) and play in the creek, mud fights and duck calls were all we knew. As I grew older the creek started to look nasty as well as the dirt the boys brought home and the smell that came with it, but I would still spend the day on my bike riding, listening and watching.
Ever since I started working I had less and less time to ride my bike until finally, a few months ago we sold it. That became my excuse for not going on the trail; no bike meant no trail.
I have an addictive personality. Not like drugs or alcohol, nothing of that sort, but if I like something I need it. I like God, so I need God. Since my love for God is sometimes freaky to people, I try to find ways to see God in things, people, activities, etc. When God is left out of something (for example the parties I get invited to sometimes, the conversations people bring up, the things people do.... you get the point) I tend to back away from those situations. I'm not perfect in ANY way, but I strive to be better every day.
Anyway, back to the point...The other day I realized that I hadn't gone on the trail in so long, and I felt a need so strong, that I had to do something about it. I took up running. Never in my entire life have I enjoyed running. I am not good at it, and in fact, when I was younger my doctor told me that I couldn't run because of a skipped heart beat. My breathing is heavy from the moment I start and I can barely run for a minute straight. But my addictive personality needed a fix, and that meant I was going to run on the trail.
First day was no good; it took my brother and I two hours to walk/run three miles, a distance that should take 36 minutes at most. Second day I went alone. It took me a little over an hour to walk/run more or less four miles. Today I went the same distance in about an hour.
I'm still not good at this whole running thing, but I get back so much more than I give when I go that I can't give up just yet. When I say I'm going on a run, it's always going to mean a walk/run; I still can't run for more than a minute straight, but it feels so good to set a stopping point and see yourself run past it. I tell myself that I am going to "run to [that] tree", as I get near the tree I think that I can run to [that] sign, and as I am passing the sign I think "...if God is able to die on a cross for me, then I am definitely able to run just a little further." Of course, by that time the thought only gets me a few yards further, but at least I keep going.
I see God when I am on the trail. The trees blow my problems away. The wind and the squirrels sing me a song I can never forget. The pavement is hard under my feet, but protects me from a world I could sink into; it holds me up above the dirt, reminding me that no matter where this trail may take me, the ending is always the same as the beginning.
I have traded my beach for a trail, for now at least, and I couldn't be happier.