Flushed face, beaded brows, lingering laughs and heavy heartbeats are distinctive to any runner – novice or experienced. The pulsing muscles in your legs – lithe and sinew with the crowning glory of surpassing your capacity in the vortex of a lusty landscape is a high unmatched by the strongest of liqueurs.
Athletics and I don’t gel! I am a soft and clumsy being who craves activity at the risk of stumbling every other minute. Spy me on the sidewalk and you’ll invariably end up a millionaire if you count the number of times I re-balance myself. But catch me off the beaten track and you’ll be empty-handed. Yep! Weird sense of balance and gravity I got! A run in the woods cannot be matched by the treadmill. Be it the lush cool greens or the rustic auburn hollows, to lose one self and strike a telepathic conversation with speaking trees is a different magic altogether.
My two years in hilly Goa, bathed in deep amber soil and lush green beauty were truly enchanting. The backyard was fruit orchards and streams lining the path – virgin and unsoiled. After that, I came to Pune which is surrounded by tiny hillocks and forts. A few minutes in the right direction and bang! You escape from what is known as “civilization”. For a time, a recurring infection sapped me of my stamina and strength for months and I sank into a shadowed existence for a while where even a ten-minute walk left me gasping. But recovery led to rediscovering the joy of woods that made the infection almost worth it!
Ah! How I love the runner’s high that seeps in once you are polished and racing like a finely tuned instrument. You hit the right peaks and polish the troughs like you were born to do so. Your senses sharpen in the heart of nature and you communicate at a very fundamental level. The beautiful early morning with the birds crooning, the moon softening under the rising sun’s pale light and the misty fresh weight of air welcome you into a cool loving embrace. The leaves glisten in the shaded light, the dewy soil emits a woodsy fragrance and tiny rivulets of stream glitter like a blanket of diamonds. It is a precious jewel to be coveted. Catch your breath. See the flowers blooming, raising their heads towards the dappling sunlight to breath in that shimmering raw energy. You feel it reverberating under the earth, over your head and inside as you burst forward in liberation.
There is a dance in your hair, a tune in your breath, and a kink in your legs that is a reminder that this what your body was made for. To move, to push itself and race towards that splendid numbness where you are no longer aware of yourself! The body makes love with itself. Oh! And the luxurious breakfast following a leisurely shower where the mind is alertly restful…*sighs*
These moments keep me moving forward in spite of sitting at a desk for nine hours every day. An opportunity to exult in freedom, to be completely content in my being, to feel the little bursts of happiness explode inside me with every stride.
Grabbing the opportunity is where the challenge lies…
One of the prompts was to write a blog post inspired by the word: Race… This is my race against myself and discovering the joys of running!