It’s nearly impossible to be
Modern-day numb
when I go out for a run.

My body syncs with mind as
I move forward
and breathe.

I look up and out
noticing each passing season:
Spring tulips yawning sleepily toward the sky
Summertime sunlight pressing on reddened skin
Autumn’s burnt orange and red splaying against blue
Winter’s ice stinging sharp in a glittering pond.

I listen to
the tree branches rustle
the predictable crunch of footsteps
the puffs of breath from expanded lungs.

I become alert and alive
the burn of a last mile effort
shallow gasps as my breath catches up
heart beating fast in each passing stride.

My mind wanders with me
remembering and predicting
and coming back again
to feel what’s here
beneath my feet.

I am a creature of the woods
a runner in the tame wilderness
of a human-made trail.

I am alive when I run
because here
I cannot be numb.
I choose with every step
to be fully alive.

Along the Superior Hiking Trail at the Wild Duluth 50k in 2021

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