It was already somewhat dusky when I headed out. Actually, the sun was about to set, but since it was prior to 5:00, I was living in denial. There were no long shadows because the sun was shrouded in gauzey low-hanging clouds. Thanks to a newly acquired set of spectacles, I could still see plenty clearly. The new waterfall in the Swannanoa was to my left, and a variety of options for cutting the run short led out the right.
Still, I was determined to run the entire length of the river trail, not because it is difficult (which it is not) but because it is a good distance. It is good, from time to time, to run long but not necessarily hard. Yesterday, I summited Old Man Jones and found myself a bit worn for the wear. Sometimes running should just be fun, and that is what it would be today.
Coming around Riverbend, I met several folks coming the other way. They looked slightly perplexed to see me outward bound. House lights began to appear along the ridge. Maybe I should turn around now? But where? Something in me abhors an out-and-back route, and I will do anything to make a circuit. No choice but to push on to Stoke’s and loop through the field.
On the return trip, my mind occupied with the future of Emergent Christianity, rhododendron bent down to wrap me in a tunnel. The subtle majesty shocked me out of my reverie and made me pay attention to the rotting leaves that would become mud after I have left this place. My time is short here, and the day was rapidly ending.
There was no one left on the trail, so it felt like I was closing shop. Goodnight footbridge. Goodnight river cane. Increasingly, there was no distinction between trail and wilderness. The feel of the path underfoot had to provide as much guidance as what was before my eyes. That was ok. I’ve been here enough to be able to intuit the way. There’s no need to get scared of stumbling or getting lost. It’s a good run.