When I was younger I used to run around my grandparents rural property barefoot. I liked the feel of the ground under my feet, the grass between my toes. I relished the days when my siblings and I were allowed to stay out after sundown. We would watch the stars come out and try to find the only constellation I knew at the time, the Big Dipper. If anyone shed dirt, it would have been me.
Despite the mosquito bites that inevitably follow, I still love being outdoors. Now, I strap on a pair of sneakers (reserving going barefoot for the beach) and hike or more recently running.
That’s what I liked about Portland, Oregon. A hiking trail was never far from the city. I could walk to several trails in Washington Park or hitch a half hour ride to the Columbia River Gorge.
Those places were what made me feel connected to the nature. When I moved away, I thought that I’d instantly feel that connection here. I am after all living in the Pocono Mountains, but the surrounding trees actually felt as if they were closing in on me. I couldn’t see beyond the trunks and heavy laden boughs.
Jogging the quite streets at ten in the morning, I went farther than I had before. Upon turning around I was taken aback by the sight that lay before me. I could see a mountain ridge, the carpet of green and vast sky above. It was one of those moments where I could see my place in the world.
This is my goal for every jog. The mountains are not easy to run in, as I’m not used to contending with humidity and altitude. I catch my breath and take in the beauty. I like this area a little bit more than I did before. Hurrah, for life’s little pleasures.