Thursday, November 4, 2010

Treasure Hunting

   Running has been an incredible stress reliever for me, it clears my head and puts my soul at ease. Every once in awhile one of my runs turns into an experience. These experiences are sometimes brief, sometimes spur thoughts and sometimes just put a smile on my face. Today was one of those days that sparked all three and made my run complete.

   The first moment that crossed my path today was shortly after my run began. Less than a half mile into my route I had the pleasure to soak in some rays of heat that the sun was blessing me with. Under a bright blue fall sky those flashes of heat that were so brief on this cool crisp fall afternoon warmed not not only my body but my soul as well. As I continued on I began to think that if everyone just stole a few minutes today to breathe in the last bit of warmth the sun was offering this part of the country just might be a happier place. With that thought in my head I continued down my path.

   Three miles into this jaunt I start down a narrow country road. There was no shoulder to run on and traffic was picking up as people were making the commute home. This stretch of my route is a steady incline and provides no room for error either on my part or the passing drivers. Usually I'm the first person to condemn and complain about the driving skills of the people in my town, not today. The drivers on the road today were extremely vigilant and friendly. At times stopping to give me extra space and passing along a wave and a smile. As I continued to grind the up the hill those small treasures that people shared with me made my day a little brighter and the hill a little bit easier.

   At this point in my run I started to notice the little things that I came across. The small, seemingly insignificant things I take for granted or just fail to notice. For example a caterpillar making his way across the road. This made me think about all the the hardships that everyone goes through. The difficult decisions everyone has to make from time to time in order to make it to the next chapter of our lives. The hard decisions we know we have to make just to live a happier more peaceful life. I didn't stick around to see if the little guy made it across the road, but his journey stuck with me. His journey reminded me of the times I knew a friend was going through a hard time and I offered advice but didn't follow through to help them cross their road. I carried this thought and the thought that I could be a better friend at times for the next few miles until I found my next treasure that the countryside offered.

  Most of my hill workout was complete and I was headed home. I started down one of my favorite stretches of road. The path is a narrow country road with no traffic flow. The road runs along a huge red barn and some overgrown fields. This stretch always has some type of gem waiting for me to discover. On this gorgeous fall afternoon it didn't disappoint. Making my way up to the barn a flock of wild turkeys were coming out of the field. This actually made me laugh, the sight of 12 or 13 turkeys waddling down the road away from me  was kind of funny. I noticed one of the turkeys was left behind trapped behind a dilapidated fence. No sooner did I notice this, the flock that was waddling away from me stopped, and made their way to the side of the road to waited for the one left behind.

   If we all were so lucky to have family and friends waiting for us as we struggled getting over and through our own fences in life the world just might be a better place. As I passed the flock I looked back and the turkeys made their way back to the one that was lost. I pushed on with a smile making my way to the open farm fields just up one of the last hills of the run. Running down the last part of my favorite road is usually where I soak up the sun and notice all of the amazing colors beaming from the fields yet to be plowed over. A peaceful calm feeling usually comes over me at this point in the run and like always that stretch of road didn't fail me.

   I don't remember much of the last two miles with those thoughts grazing through my mind, but I do recall reaching my driveway with a smile. This run just seemed a little different. My eyes were open and my mind was clear. All of the small treasures in life that I just pass on by because my life is so busy made an impact on me and made my run that much more enjoyable.

   The next time you are off running the kids to football or soccer practice; the next time you are going to the store or running off to that meeting stop for a second and take in one of the small treasures that are all around us.  You don't have to be a runner to enjoy the small wonders in life, but if you're able to pause and notice the beautiful colors in the sky or that butterfly that floats across your path, you just might have a better day and in the end isn't that what we all want ?