As I run in the Pemigewasset Wilderness in White Mountain National Forest I feel at home. Critics say, "You can't go home again." Every time I step foot in alpine forest however, my soul feels complete. It's like I've been in a slumber and have finally awakened.
The smell of the alpine forest is intoxicating. Fir and Spruce bouquet enter my heaving lungs. With each fleet footed step I quicken the pace with pleasure, craving more scents.
The wind today tears through my body. The 30 degree temperatures fill the spaces in between the atoms that comprise my body. This jacket leaves me feeling naked. The sting of the cold exulted by my senses. These are the moments in which I can be fully present in the moment. As I dance with the trail, navigating over and under dead wood, roots, rocks, and more, I am one with the mountain. I am not running on the trail, I am running with the mountains. The rain pounds my face, and my hands burn red with a fire of frostbite. My nerve endings are enraged. Alive. Rain has caused the trail to become a stream. The grade of the trail is so steep that water running off boulders in the trail splashes my face in icy bursts. Alive. There is not one numb cell in the body. Splashing through puddles freezing water drenches my thighs. The scene surrounding me reminds me I am organic and at some point, this body will become the rocks and flowers and rain that invigorates me. We are one. We are permeable and orbit one another.
After summiting the peak of my days objective and desire, I descend the highest point. I notice a drop of rain which landed in a small mountain stream. It roars down the granite slides. My flesh travels at the same speed down the mountainside as the droplet of water tumbling its way down to the Pemigewasset River. I notice the changes in flora and fauna as we enter lower elevations. The focus required to move at such speeds over the most technical terrain allows me to feel complete peace as I am in the present with my entire being. Even upon slowing once the grade evens out I am consumed with the living mountain I exist in. My senses are heightened. The problems of the world have melted away.
Although my muscles cry out. I am at peace. Although my hands are singed from the bite of the cold I am at ease like never before. I am alive and content.