Don't Let The Light Die
I took a day. I took one day to say fuck it I need to get out of the city. As most mornings that week it was cloudy in Portland and a layer of low clouds were piercing the hill side by our home. I kissed the Mrs. goodbye as she left for work for the day and as she always tells me when I venture away by myself for the day " I love you and be safe." I did not have a plan. Most days like this I don't. I knew I had to get out though. I don't know if you ever have the feeling of walls closing in on you. The weight of life stuff, the weight of feeling a bit anxious had me ready to get out. So I just got my running stuff together and some other gear I would need and jumped in the Subaru and shot a quick text to the wifey that I was headin out!
The process is easy for days like this, don't over think it. I love running, I love the pain and the challenge part of it. I love the places it has taken me and the sights I have seen because of it. But the last couple of years I had some physical and emotional injuries I was healing from, so on this day I tried to keep expectations low. I started my journey to Mt. Hood and there is an instant calm for me that happens as soon as I hit Hwy 26 knowing that I am leaving the city.
My goal was to get to Mirror Lake and maybe do that trail to get warmed up but then I remembered I could get to the Silcox Hut pretty easy this time of year. So then I just went for it! I started going up to Timberline and as soon as I turned the corner to get up to the last little bit of road before a sea of asphalt, also known as the parking lot, I had a good feeling about this choice.
It didn't take much to get ready for this jaunt up to the Silcox Hut so I was on my way pretty quick after parking. As I was getting ready to start I was taking deep breaths, but not just regular deep breaths. Deep and deeper breaths as if I was refilling my oxygen supply for when I headed back to the city which at this point I did not want to think of leaving. The sky was bright blue and you could see the clouds covering the population I had just left. I started up to the hut thinking I would just run up and back down and head to a different spot, but as it always does, Nature wanted me toslow down and enjoy all that was around me. So that is exactly what I did. It is amazing how much we cram in our heads and hearts everyday, week, month, year. Being up there gives me a sense of clarity I do not get anywhere else. It simplifies everything. The baggage goes away. It is just you and the mountain. Now you will think I am crazy but I talk to myself mostly in my head but it happens. This time it was a mix of talking to myself and the mountain. It always listens and it has a way of telling you what you need to hear.
When I got to the Hut and stood there looking at the mountain I had one thought and I said it in a whisper as I was trying to catch my breath. "This is all that matters." And it was true, at that very moment that was all that mattered. That was all I needed. The Mountain speaks to me by its detail in rock, in the snow. It speaks to me by how the wind hits it and how it reacts to the present weather. On that day it told me to keep going. I look around and see Trillium Lake.
I knew I had to go there next. I ran down from the hut, which is a mix of the scariest and most exciting thing you will ever do. I jumped back into the Sub and threw down some water, PB &J and some trail mix and started down the winding road back to 26. By this time it was full on sun and heat shining down. When I started on the loop around Trillium, I took my long sleeves off and began around the lake. If you have never been to Trillium Lake, you must! It is amazing when you can see the mountain's reflection on the lake. It will take you to another level.
The sun there was amazing. I could feel it beating on my back and warming up my soul. The legs were starting to feel tired, but the beauty of calm at this place kept me going. When I was starting to finish my second loop I took a moment to look at the wetland valley and was amazed by the light that was shining down. It wasn't being obstructed by any building or structure. It was being filtered my water, grass and trees. It was EVERYTHING.
As the story goes, all good things must come to and end. I had been on the mountain all day and it was time to get back to the city. Before I did, I found a bench and laid down starring at the now fading light. I thought to myself why can't everyday be like this and that is when it all made sense. I run for this. I do not run for a PR or to post my fastest times on social media. I do not run to gain praise or attention from all my friends and family. I do not run to show off my finisher medals or to try to impress people on Strava. I run because it connects me to what is important. I run because it balances me when I am one with my surroundings. I run because running slows every thing else down for me. I run because it creates a pure burning light in me and I don't want to let that light die.