With each step the rain fell heavier, the sky shaded grayer, and the wind cut deeper, stronger. My fingers didn’t hurt anymore; they were numb, as were my bare legs. The skin covering my quadriceps was rose colored from the sting of the icy droplets that pelted my exposed flesh each time I raised my leg to stride up the steep trail. The wind cut through my jacket. It wasn’t like I was naked though... It was as if I had no skin at all. The more-than-brisk blast would cut to my core, and push me along the trail. It coursed through me, in my lungs, pumped by my beating heart to my muscles. The wind went through me, in me, and around me. I was permeable; the rain and the environment in its entirty moved through me. It occupied the free atmosphere inbetween the atoms and molecules that together in unison make my being. My fluid corpse was like water tumbling down a swift mountain river or stream, controlled by greater forces, except gravity wasn't a factor. I moved up, and down, as the trail and fierce winter day moved me on my path through the forest.
In the begining of the run, when I could still feel the sting of the cold, It started like a war. I could find shelter from the incoming artillery, (which was the wind), when the trail would turn south, and the ridgeline protected me from the onslaught. Then I once again succumbed to my fate, succumbed to the worsening conditions and just ran. I let the fury of the weather around me fuel me. I felt nothing, I expended no energy. When I was on a slope protected from the wind, I noticed the leaves in their stillness, unaffected by the wind, silent and still. Yet somehow I was still propelled forward. The wind abated yet I continued as the front had culminated in still cooler temps which yielded snow from the rain which was my original running companion. The snow fell around me, and I became a flake, blowing down the trail horizontally.
Running in the heat of summer, one word comes to mind; oppresed. The freezing temps however cut to the innermost core of my being, and I felt free,, one with the world in which I was living in immediately. I was lighter and surpassed my organic being. Even my feet felt light. The thick and wide spaced lugs on my shoes bit the ground with precision. Each step gripping, but not clunky.
I needed no fuel, I needed no fluid. As I moved through the forest, I mentally recollected the surroundings in which I began my run that morning. It was in the 40's. It was raining. I was wet. The forest floor was brown and covered in leaves of maple. Hours later, it was in the 20's and the forest floor had changed before my eyes. From originally looking as if it had taken a slight dousing of powdered sugar, to being covered in the afternoon by over an inch of freshly fallen snow, it had transformed before my eyes. My jacket had dried out too. The heat from my body was never noticed by my conscious senses, yet it must have existed, because my jacket was dry.
Time was ephemoral and non-existant in the same time. I lived in the moment as the world around me changed drastically. It could have been 1 second or 100 years. Eventually I reached my car and my senses returned. I peeled off my wet and muddy shoes and socks, and turned on the heat as I drove home, mind renewed, spirit cleansed, and refreshed.
Troy Shellhamer 1/12/12