I love to run with friends on the trails and share the experience with them. However, I ventured out yesterday on Friday solo...just me...to a park in Youngstown, OH that never, ever disappoints. It presents with every kind of trail surface from lots of rocks, pine lanes, fresh dirt inclines, bridges, and nearly always within sight of one of the lakes or waterfalls/dams that connect each one of them. It wasn't long after starting from the Old Log Cabin in Mill Creek Park that I was thankful for the aloneness that the day had provided. It was perfect. It was peaceful. It was a deep-rooted relaxation of the mind unable to be accomplished anywhere else in life. As I climbed up the steel stairs, passed by the ball-fields, passed by each waterfall, climbed the Monkey Hills, loved the Love Log, stopped by Kimba's Rock, and sat on a few brand new benches overlooking Lake Glacier, the peace and solitude of the trails came to me and there was nowhere else I wanted to be.
For some, it's just the beauty of the trails. They thank 'nature' and the 'universe' for what it has provided. For me, it's not that. Like Emeril says, I "kick it up a notch" and thank the One who has made 'nature'...who has made the 'universe.' There are no accidents out there in creation...no missteps...no "getting lucky". It is all a perfectly-crafted beauty that has been created by the One who knows beauty and perfection like none other. Wouldn't you agree? Can perfection and beauty like we immerse ourselves on the trails really just 'happen'? Doesn't it make logical sense that a conscious being created it all? Thought was put into every species of tree, plant, and animal. The perfect combination of light, oxygen, and temperatures so that everything can thrive is just too much to think that some mystical power just made it all happen. SomeOne's hand crafted it and for that, I acknowledge Him every time I hit the trails. I just wish that others would make the attempt and get out there for themselves and experience it.
In the end, life happens. Reality happens. Work. Kids. Bills. Responsibilities. They all remain when the trail shoes are thrown aside and we say goodbye to the trails...temporarily. The gift of decompression that the trails provide, though, is priceless and should never be underestimated or taken for granted. Whether one runs, hikes, or walks the trails...they have something for everyone and in Ohio, we have a plethora of them. For that, we should be thankful. It is just simply AMAZING...
Happy Trails, everyone!
(if you want to view 93 of my favorite photos from yesterday's run, here they are including one cool encounter with a brave squirrel)