Last Friday's birrundering (that's "birding while running" for the uninitiated) was the first time I had run with a group since high school. It was a nice way to pass the miles. Shelley asked me if I always run alone on trails. Of course, was my reply. She told me she runs alone, too, but pointed out that some people think it is foolhardy to go out on trails alone. You're isolated. You're vulnerable. What if...?
But it goes back farther than that. Before running, before birding, I was a little girl. An only child. Creeping through the woods behind my parent's house. Splashing through the creek. Sitting quietly beside the pond. A constant narrative ran through my mind, my imagination conjuring up tales of magic and adventure. Out on those back acres, I was alone.
So today, here I am. Running through a sea of fallen leaves, the golden sunset glancing off the lake to set the woods on fire. Just as I have always been. Yes: alone. But also surrounded by so many fantastic sights and constantly engaged in such adventure that the words isolated and vulnerable and what if... take on less importance. I tuck those words away, let them keep close company with my awareness and common sense—and I live in this one moment that was made for me. Alone.