Alone in the woods, listening

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

I spent the early hours of last Sunday morning in the woods. Alone.

I love trail running and by August I’m usually looking forward to the end of my triathlon season so that I can put my trail shoes on and get off road again. This past Sunday wasn’t about running though. I’ll write to you another time about trail running and why I love it.

Sunday I needed a place to be quiet. And listen.

One of my favorite trails is only a few miles from our house. It’s a difficult trail that climbs a few hundred feet right from the start. Running/walking easy I can make it to the high point of the trail in about 15 minutes.

That’s my spot.

Above our small town. On a cool October morning. The warmth and rhythm of my breath my only company.

I sat down and tried to be still. Being still is hard for me. So I fidgeted there, wanting to use my time. I looked around. Stretched my legs. Studied my new trail shoes. Took a few pictures. And my mind began to race. I thought of things I needed to write down. Things I needed to do when I got home. Even things I needed to do on Monday at work.

I wasn’t relaxed. I wasn’t listening.

So, I closed my eyes and took a few deep breathes.

Fear set in as I sat alone in the woods as the sun rose. What if someone walks up and I’m sitting here with my eyes closed, I thought. Panic.

I took 10 more deep breathes and tried to let my mind go blank. I focused on the sounds of the woods.

Twigs cracked and broke under some unknown weight. I forced myself to keep my eyes closed.

Then I heard only the wind as it blew through the trees. Crisp leaves chattering all in one voice. A beautiful chorus that only I was present for. I breathed and listened more deeply.

A faint whisper.

And complete silence.

All of the sounds were gone. My mind was blank. I focused on my breathing.

10 minutes passed before I opened my eyes.

Completely refreshed. Clarity of mind restored.

One of my goals is to find 10 minutes of quiet each day. My spot in the woods allows me to focus on silence. Your spot may not be in the woods. But I encourage you to find time to listen each day for the whisper that’s always there.

I love you,

– Daddy

ps. I’ll be reviewing the new La Sportiva Raptor GTX trail shoe I wore on this run next week.

Training: OFF SEASON

Mon: P90x Chest workout + abs

Tues: Back Alley workout: plyometrics, pushups, burpees, abs, sprints

Wed: None

Thurs: lifted weights at the gym

Fri: Swam 700 easy yards

Sat: planning a trail run

Sun: planning a short bike ride