september 18th, 2014
just before seven in the morning we top out on the bare dirt summit of west tiger three. nobody is here, it’s early. a damp fog sits close and alex is at its edge, a grey shape almost floating inside a cold grey sky. i haven’t been here in nearly eight weeks and it feels good to stand here again in a way i’ve only begun to recently know.
this morning at the trailhead i step out of the car and into the wet darkness, pulling my hat on. last night in bed i heard the rain fall and envisioned a morning just like this. it’s warm and i wear only a light jacket. alex gets his gear together and i pull a headlamp onto my head, turn it on, and pee on a bush.
"i’m pretty sure this is what dying feels like," i tell alex at five thirty in the morning, staring at the circle of illuminated ground in front of me, hiking hands on knees up tiger’s steep highschool trail. he laughs, somewhere back there in the dark, and then goes quiet again.
it’s a strange thing, this running in the dark. there are no views, no tops of hills. just the ground a few feet below and the trust that it continues a couple more.
there is no secret here, this is hard, it’s fun in a retrospective way. there’s no pretending that it’s even done for the beauty or views, there are none at this hour. more and more it seems to be about doing something because it’s doable and because it’s hard. this isn’t every morning, but it’s some, and there’s a balance there, and i think i like that. i think i need that.
after a few minutes on the summit we begin the trip down. this trail is runnable and known to me. the day has come on and there is a soft grey light filtering down and through the trees. it’s a few good miles down and we run them fast and quiet coming upon a group of women and a dog only later, close to the end, saying goodmorning, and continuing down, towards the car, a drive home, and work to begin soon.