Have you ever had one of those moments when you felt like everything was a part of you and you were a part of everything? I had one of those last week.
It was a Wednesday evening, maybe 6:30 or so. Cloudy, warm, but not hot. I decided to go for a short run through the timber at Whitetail Country Estates (a resort near Mt. Pleasant, Iowa that my boyfriend Brett manages). [[*UPDATE 6-2012* Brett no longer works for Whitetail, so I've removed the link above.]] I love running in the summer and we’ve been fortunate enough to have summer-like temperatures for the last few weeks in March so I’m jumping right on that. Anyway, I had been running for about a mile when I came up to an open field of tall grass and weeds. The trail that cut along the field was really more of an area of slightly shorter grass with pretty irregular ground underneath. So I was focused less on my environment and more on making sure I didn’t roll my ankle.
This photo of the trail and field were taken two days later at the same time of day.
As I huffed and puffed my way down this long stretch of field, I started looking around and I noticed a few white tails off in the distance bobbing in and out of the tall in a similar rhythm to my stride. Now, it’s nothing new to see deer in the timber at Whitetail. I mean really, it’s called Whitetail Country Estates. But I usually see them from my car or from the utility vehicle that we drive around the property. There was nothing between me and the deer that day but grass. So I kept running, and watching. My attention turned completely away from my level of fatigue and my strides per breath and instead on the growing crowd of tails bouncing around me. After about a minute of this, there were deer everywhere around me, running in front, on both sides and behind me. Some were as close as 10 feet away. We were all running together. Not towards anything, or away from anything – just running. Doing what our bodies are meant to do. And we weren’t afraid of each other. It was magic.
A photo of one of this year’s junior bucks in January.
Of course, whitetail deer run faster and longer than humans, and certainly me, so the moment didn’t last long, maybe only a few minutes. But in those few minutes, I felt myself let go of everything that had exhausted my mind all day long: the difficult students, the impossible responsibilities of work and life, the guilt and self-doubt that comes with a good Lutheran upbringing. After those minutes passed, I silently said thank you to God, to nature, to Brett, to this beautiful piece of Iowa landscape, to everything in this world, for allowing me to be a part of it and pulling me back to the amazing beauty of the real world. Because it’s when I’m trapped in my mind that I’m not a part of the world at all.
Anyway, I finished my run strong, took a really awesome shower and had a wonderful night with my honey. My life is beautiful, because I am more than just me. I am a part of something bigger and better than I can possibly describe, and it is a part of me.
A stretch of trail at Whitetail Country Estates in the full glory of fall.