Freedom and Wilderness

Ed Abbey is one of my favorite authors (aside from Tom Robbins). If you’ve never read anything by Abbey, now is the time. The Monkey Wrench Gang is a good place to start and one of my most favorite books. Here’s an excerpt from Freedom and Wilderness that I recently read.

We need wilderness because we are wild animals. Every man needs a place where he can go to go crazy in peace. Every Boy Scout troop deserves a forest to get lost, miserable, and starving in. Even the maddest murderer of the sweetest wife should get a chance for a run to the sanctuary of the hills. If only for the sport of it. For the terror, freedom, and delirium. Because we need brutality and raw adventure, because men and women first learned to love in, under, and all around trees, because we need for every pair of feet and legs about ten leagues of naked nature, crags to leap from, mountains to measure by, deserts to finally die in when the heart fails.

This excerpt really resonated with me after last night’s run. A run to the sanctuary of the hills. I started it feeling a little wonky and uncoordinated (very frustrating!), but after a few miles my trail legs found their groove. I was trying to decide during a portion of the run why I have been feeling this way at the beginning of my runs. Is it because I’m just that uncoordinated? Maybe yes, at times. Am I trying to run faster than the trail allows me to? Possibly. Did I have too many things on my mind that I’m trying to sort out? Yes. I’m sure there’s a multitude of reasons. After a while, I got sick of questioning myself and I told my brain to shut up and just enjoy this moment of a beautiful trail run. Sometimes you just need to leave yourself alone. No questions, no worries, no nothing. I ended up extending my run longer than planned and found myself just letting the trail lead me on, my legs turning over with more intensity with each step. The sunlight slanted redgold through the trees and danced across my eyes like the northern lights. The trail broke out of the woods and opened onto a wide-open space overlooking the big lake. There wasn’t a cloud to be seen and the lake met the sky in a seamless swatch of the most brilliant blue I have ever seen. It literally stopped me in my tracks. I perched atop a small rock to take it all in. The only thing I could think of was how lucky I am to live in such an amazing place.

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