People talk about the “runner’s high,” the feeling a runner can get when what seems like it would be agonizing to a lot of people, the runner included, becomes euphoric. For me, it isn’t always so much a high as a calm. No gasping, no pounding heart, no dramatic rippling of muscles; calmness. Breathing, heartbeats, footfalls, all steady and solid. Ah, I see, my body says, you really want to keep doing this, don’t you. Well, OK then, let’s do this.
Ours is a culture that underestimates the power of calm. Junkies of emo, addicts to the feels, we tend to dismiss calmness as equivalent to lifeless. If it’s dramatic, it’s deep, it’s true, it’s important and desired. Even the way we view land reflects this. Coastlines with their surge of surf, mountain ranges with soaring summits and plunging canyons—beautiful. The flat stuff in between? Boring. Well, I’m a permanent resident of Boringland now, and while I could passionately defend our high sky or our unobstructed horizons, I’m not going to. Some things a person has to discover for themselves.
And what I have discovered, though it took some time, is that what’s deep and true and important is not necessarily the thing that makes your heart pound to bursting but rather the thing that reminds you that you do in fact have a heart, that you are in fact breathing, that you are alive and moving forward step after step. No, it isn’t dramatic like the finish-line photo everyone sees and goes wow, and that’s just fine because this isn’t something to be captured in a fleeting moment. This is what you sustain. You can do this. You can love someone, and he you, in a way that is steady and solid like the land where you run.
OK, then. Let’s do this.