Alone in the wild

sunset

This weekend was unusual: soaking wet and highly social. The rain we needed came down for days, drenching the Santa Monica Mountains and pushing the green emerging everywhere to hurry up and keep growing. So Saturday and Sunday I ran and slipped for miles and miles, for a total of 43 miles.

Cold rain aside, it was great to share these hours on my feet with fellow members from the Trailrunners Club. I usually run with them on Sunday mornings only, but Saturday we hit the trail for 28 miles in a small group.

It made me realize once again how special I find the camaraderie found in moving and working together. Anne, Skye, Jimmy and I talked a little, but most of the time we simply ran near each other. Each of us enjoyed and struggled independently, while knowing the others were near, going through their own experience but sharing it at the same time. It is, in my view, one of the best ways to spend time together: doing what you all love and connecting through it, but leaving each other alone at the very same time. Paradoxical perhaps, but profound.

Most of my runs are solo events. Those can be special, too. Last week I drove by the Mojave National Preserve, and simply had to stop. Just a few miles from the I-15 I found magic. The air was cool and getting cold as the sun was about to set. Still, I ignored the warnings for rattle snakes, laced up, and hit a little trail for a few miles of total freedom and beauty. Exhilarated, I stopped for pictures, watching the world around me in awe. I wanted to share it —and so I do now— but I also realized that this moment, this stillness, only existed in this moment because I was alone.

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