I am at my cabins in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. It is a glorious, bright, and sunny day. It is early morning, early enough for the fauna to be drenched in dew. The sun is blazing the last remnants of the dawn's fog into oblivion, yet the morn is cool, comforting.
As I stretch, I can smell the morning and hear it. I begin walking. At first around my cabin, then to my drive which leads up to the main road. There is a hill with a decent incline and with a determined step; I take its steepness with no problems. My drive is surrounded by the forest and the tour is beautiful as I head to the road.
When I come to the main road, I can go left or right. There is no path less travelled here, so either way is known to me. Yet, as I head left, my expectations lean to the unknown, as I hope the familiar is hiding something new and exciting. I am walking fast, but not too fast to miss what my journey can show me.
I feel great. The air that I'm breathing is fresh and pure and my lungs welcome it with each intake. It fuels my quickening step. My pace grows faster now, but I'm still able to take everything in. I can hear things all around me. Birds and animals, the gentle rustle of the forest floor, and the leaves of the trees overlooking everything. I can feel the forest watching me.
I walk on, further than I have ever gone before and soon I come to the iron bridge that overlooks a rushing stream. I have walked about a mile and I feel great. I'm not out of breath, though I am sweating greatly. And, even that feels good pouring off my face. I look at the water, but only for a moment.
I turn back, but now I start a slow jog. A slight breeze cools my face and I reward this by moving faster. My jog becomes even faster and now I'm setting a goal for myself. I count off, one, two, three, four and congratulate myself as I hit my imaginary finish line, a small fir tree off to the side, before five seconds are up.
I go on. My legs and arms in tune with each other, working to power myself forward. Again, the pace quickens. The jog is now full out running. It is the fastest I have ever run, but somehow I push even more. From within myself, I search for the power to go even faster.
As I come back to my cabin's private drive, I hit all out speed. The running born of the jog, born of the walk, born of the new day, becomes a full out sprint. My muscles in my legs seem to cry out in protest, but I'm not listening. This protestation blurs along with the road and the woods. I'm at the top of the hill now and I pass the summit at the fastest speed I have ever run. The downturn provides more speed and for a moment, I'm losing control...but now I'm flying, covering more ground in less time than I have ever. There is silence and it feels like I'm in slow motion. I notice nothing around me and I'm falling....
It is the forest and specifically a bed of pine needles that have collected at the bottom of the hill for ages that knocks me back into reality. This bed of comfort is soft, inviting, and it spares me from injury, protecting me from impact. I roll down a few feet more in this bed and stop, laying on my back looking up to the clear blue sky.
Everything aches, from the top of my head down to my toes. My breathing is heavy, but as I lay there, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I feel alive. I stretch to get up, but the comfort stops this. I just lay there and enjoy the moment.... and several more after that.
Copyright 2003 The Estate of Len Tomaszewski