Not far from the place where I used to live are beautiful paved trails that I used to run...
Several times a week, several weeks a month, several months a year.
Trails that are heavily treed on both sides, curvy, hilly, serene.
And a step away from an ordinarily busy world.
I have run them hundreds of times over the last several years.
And while running I have written posts in my head, some of which have actually made their way to you.
Two of which were specifically inspired by moments on the trail that are deeply significant to me.
Both of which are my favorite posts ever.
It is on these trails that I have connected with earth, found myself, and discovered my heart.
There is one particular stretch of trail connected by a bridge.
One side is open and grassy, available to the world and it's noisy offerings;
The other is wooded and quiet.
I have always looked at this little bridge as a symbolic passage between
where I have been and where I am going.
And crossing over feels like entering a magical forest.
Over the years I have picked out my own little landmarks on this stretch of forest---
An oddly bent tree that I will someday lie upon to read a wildly engaging book;
Stretching across the creek, fallen timber, that I will someday sit upon and have a really lovely chat
with a really special friend;
And a tree hollow that has repeatedly caught my eye, yearning for a look inside.
Each of these landmarks brings a gentle smile with each thoughtful passage.
I don't run these trails as much as I used to.
But when I need to feel connected to nature and the healing it offers, I return and make this run.
It was on one such day last spring that I did just that.
And crossing the little bridge I imagined;
Passing the oddly bent tree I smiled;
And catching a glimpse of the fallen timber I hoped again for one special day,
one special friend,
and one special conversation.
And then I approached the hollow in the tree.
Something had changed.
It was still hollow from the side.
But much, much different from the front.
Where once was a gaping hole was now...
A door in the wood.
A carefully crafted and perfectly placed purple door. With hinges. And a doorknob.
And looking as if it should have been there all along.
(Cell phone shot. Don't judge.)
There is something about this kind of experience that just makes you giddy!
I mean, honestly, I have run past this hollow So. Many. Times.
And often wondered what kind of creature would/could/should live there.
But never once did I think about a door.
It's simply brilliant!
And made me smile for the rest of the day.
And the next day. And every next day that I thought of it.
It is entirely fair (and truthful) to say that it was not long before this door drew me back into the trail.
And it was on the next run that quietly tucked away on a little bend of the trail I found...
Another door in the wood.
Quiet. Unobtrusive. Uncomplicated.
This time I had to stop to see what was inside.
So I knelt down and reverently opened the door,
Because for some reason it seems disrespectful to disrupt such a place as this.
Inside I found little handwritten notes.
Questions about who might live there,
Comments about what a great addition to the trail the door was.
And words of inspiration and hope.
It very nearly made me cry.
I sat quietly and contemplated for a few moments before getting up to continue my run.
And I knew that this trail that had come to mean so much to me
would never be the same.
It would only be better...
Because I loved these little doors right away.
I loved the feel they added to the run,
The cheery little smile they gave my heart,
And the way they tickled my imagination.
I decided then that I would make my way back to these trails. Soon. And more often.
What I didn't know was what I would be coming back to...
(Part Two tomorrow.)
In case you're interested in more reading more, here are links to my favorite posts, both inspired by runs on this trail - "Moments", http://pointshootspeak.blogspot.com/2011/03/moments.html,
and "Temporary Rivers", http://pointshootspeak.blogspot.com/2013/10/temporary-rivers.html,
which I reposted just last week. Apologies that blogger will not allow me a link to the original post that does not include the recent edits.