In my increasingly hectic life I’ve lately been longing for a truer sense of home. Not in the basic roof-over-my-head variety, but rather something more consistent, somehow more meaningful. This desire for home is why we fill our spaces with tchotchkes, hang pictures, and painstakingly debate which shade of taupe really represents us when choosing a couch. As much as I enjoy my living space, the joys brought on by accruing more stuff are ephemeral. To me, home (for the last several years at least) and its sense of belonging has always been intertwined with motion.
In the fall of 2011 I began running around Allamuchy with Gene’s guidance. The short 12 minute drive from my house made it an obvious choice for daily small adventures, as well as time crunched weekend outings. As years have passed I’ve logged hundreds, if not thousands of miles in the park. I’ve summited the overlook countless times, and waxed poetic of a special downhill section of single-track behind the lake. Despite all of this the park has for some reason always been mistakenly classified in my mind as a compromise outing… It’s the place I go when I don’t have the time or resources to travel further, yet every time I return I’m amazed by the variety of terrain, and total joyfulness associated with running its trails.
This morning as I laced up my flats I could feel the stress slowly leaving my body, from the snappy (15m) ascent to the overlook, and long descent to the creek crossings, the wrinkles in my forehead began to relax, and as each footfall gained purchase in the soft earth, I could only think of the ideal state in Lieh-Tzu. It is not a state of withdrawal, but a state of heightened perceptiveness and responsiveness in an undifferentiated world. My mind concentrated and my body relaxed, bones and flesh fused completely, I drifted with the wind East or West, like a leaf from a tree or a dry husk, and never knew whether it was the wind that rode me or I that rode the wind. This feels like home.