I aspire to be a crazy runner that runs a couple marathons a year, and puts on serious miles and smiles while doing it. But, then there’s daily life. Since I’m a dad with real responsibilities that don’t let me delve happily for hours and hours into my own narcissism on a daily basis, I usually need to be content with the realistic.
I happen to enjoy running, but rather than call myself a runner I prefer to use the term explorer. I am an explorer junkie. I freaking love it. No really. It drives my wife nuts sometimes, but she fully supports my addiction since it makes me a better person when immersed in wilderness, creation, the real world… I am an explorer who happens to enjoy running as his favorite vehicle to explore the natural world. My feet are in contact with the terrain, and I’m able to cover significant ground, but not so much that I miss the important things. Anyhow, since I normally only have a half hour or so, my most common run of late has been to this bench that I love.
It sits just 2 miles from the house (for a casual 4 mile round trip) above the shore of Lake Superior along our paved Lakewalk. I prefer a lonely run through the woods, but have grown to appreciate this easy jaunt while the snow slowly recedes from our forests. I have made this run 4 times in the last week, and have discovered new things each time. Today, for instance, Tischer Creek started really running for the first time. It isn’t the big spring runoff, but it is the first running of the river. A week ago I saw a bear come out of hibernation, and watched it bask in the sun or continue to sleep outside for the next 6 days (it was gone today). About three weeks ago I observed the eagles that nest nearby had returned from their migration. I’ve grown to appreciate and observe the new discoveries that each day brings on my route.
I relish the view from the bench the most though. I have been watching the changing ice conditions from that spot off and on throughout winter and early spring. We had what appeared to be a surprisingly stable ice pack there exactly one week ago. The ice pack stretched beyond the horizon to a distance of around 20-30 miles. Ice develops more readily here because we are on the extreme southeastern tip of the lake where it narrows and one may easily see across to Wisconsin. Lake Superior is more of an inland sea, however, so the ice doesn’t behave the way it does on smaller lakes (as in every other lake on the planet). It changes every day, moves, shifts, groans and creaks, and can produce some fantastic creations.
Anyhow, all that ice didn’t melt. Strong winds from the south blew only God knows how many tons of ice straight out into the lake so now we have beautiful blue open water again. Previously this entire view was entirely that of ice, and it all disappeared in a single day. Amazing. A day of strong northeast winds could blow it back in a single day. I cherish being there regularly to see the changes as they take place. With only a half hour to devote to my running addiction I think this is a good use of time. I think everyone should find a place they love and commit to knowing it, and knowing it well. See the changes as they occur and rejoice in them. It isn’t possible to know it completely I’ve found. There are always new things to discover every day.