Training for Boston has been intense. My training plan is demanding and I am fully committed to every workout. It’s so consuming that it has taken it’s toll on my mind. I was beginning to loose my love for running and started asking myself, “why am I doing this?” I have been running long enough to know what to do when this happens. First, I needed to replace the second cross training day with an easy trail run to restore my love of the run again. This is exactly what I did last week and in an instant my passion emerged, all of my questions were answered and I feel mentally unbreakable once again. Trails are my magical cure all, they never disapoint, they never let me down, when I am out there in the open space, I tap into my soul and the light within me emerges. It’s the light that connects all of us, it’s in you and me, but it is dimmed by the noise of modern life.
While I was out there I ran into another soul. I happened to get a little off course and I ran into an older man. He told me he was a retired Marine, Vietnam Vet and served on LAPD for 22 years. He was 79 years old, but seemed young to me. I told him I was lost and he ran three miles out of his way to escort me to the trail head I needed to be on. He told me how he served 2 tours in Nam he was stationed 8 miles north of the DMZ, so he didn’t need to tell me anything further, I knew that this man saw the ugliest part of the war. Naturally, when he returned home from the war, one of the only jobs that would have any normalcy would be being a cop in LA. He did that for 22 years and retired. He said he had been married 45 years and that that was tougher than war and the streets of LA. I told him, the only people I knew that had been married that long were couples on Dateline murder mysteries, we laughed as if we had been buddies for years and yet I had only been with him for a few minutes. He possesed a level of confidence that only someone who had seen the things he had could embody. Before he jogged with me back to my trail head, I thought for moment that maybe it was too much for him to run 3 miles out of his way, but then again, this guy was a gentleman, a hero, a forgotten warrior, I knew it was his instinct to save, to protect, to serve and that I must not take this small gesture away from him just because his body had aged. When we reached my trail head, I thanked him. I reached down and shook his old, strong leathery hand and I wondered what those hands had done over the last 79 years. Had they carried a fallen brother to safety, had they killed another to save himself or a fellow Marine. Those hands were that of a guardian that had long since been forgotten. I felt his light, the energy that’s left when the body begins to decline, but that light remains or even burns brighter, despite his physical body that was clearly aging. I began to think why do we treat the elderly the way we do? Why are they invisible to us? Are we so busy that we can’t acknowledge these oftentimes amazing souls?
It brought this song to mind.. listen to all of the lyrics, so true…
As I returned home, I was reminded why I need to be in nature and why it is essential for me to run the trails, nature inspires me, inspires me to slow down, tap into my true self, the one that links us all together, it reminds me to believe in miracles, that they are all around us if we just take the time to look and keep an open mind.
Nature has every answer to every problem if you are willing to listen. Happiness is a choice that we make everyday, one that takes a certain level of maturity. Nature reminds me to show compassion toward all living things and it went out of it’s way to tell me to acknowledge the elderly. I ask you to do the same, the next time you see an elderly person, say “Hello In There”, you will be amazed at what you might discover and you will blow their mind that someone would acknowledge them. Try it! Perhaps even share your experience via a post or in the comments below.
How does nature inspire you?
Have you talked to an elderly person recently?