I went for a run today. That, for once in my life, is nothing new. It’s great exercise, a good excuse to wander a bit, and really it’s spiritually enlightening . I’m a firm believer in metaphors, and actually doing the imagery is very helpful to what it is trying to represent. We are to run the run, Paul says, so that we’ll win. Starting off by running up an extremely steep path brings much light to the present spiritual realities.

That is my first insight, on the first half of my trip. My mind wanders, now that I’m in better shape, with leaps from dissecting the differences between equivalent theological terms such as perichoresis and circumincession. If a person doesn’t know these they are worth looking up, and spending a lifetime learning to understand. For about a mile this inner conversation, and how it relates to the various Protestant creeds, rattled around.

I always spend a bit thinking about church, past church experiences, future church hopes, thinking I wouldn’t mind being part of a church again, and thinking even more that I wouldn’t mind wandering to a different part of this nation or globe and starting something with a group of like minded people. When I was eleven I felt a strong call one evening to become a pastor. Part of me thinks this call is still maturing… but when it does…

All the while I pay attention to the state of the trees, the oaks whose leaves are now fading and twisting in preparation for winter demise; the pines who surprise me by their mere existence these days, the hearty survivors of a devastating infestation; the cedars who last through it all and this year are covering in cedar nuts, making them look like hundred foot christmas trees decorated with tasteful green and brown bulbs. I keep my eye out for the coyotes who I see regularly. I don’t know why I do that. I’m intrigued I guess.

I also keep my eye out for bears, which are common around here even though I’ve never seen one myself. Though, I hear they are common back in Pasadena.

Birds abound, squirrels scamper, ravens caw and croak in the distance. My mind wanders all around, settling plot points, explaining to myself–again–my reasons for being up here, wondering what it would have been like had I chosen another path, thinking I would have ended up here anyhow as the Spirit does what it does eventually. Thinking of family, and interesting people I’ve interacted with recently, some more interesting than others which becomes an interesting train of thought of its own.

I come down the mountain, off the dirt trail which winds through the hills, up and down all around, making a two mile or so loop. Then on the asphalt for a while, up and down and all around, except passing by homes instead of empty wilderness. I run up a hill and down, then up, and up, and up, then turn onto a small access road, mostly dirt covered with hints that at one time there was more. The trail thins, and again I’m surrounded by the forest. Then my thoughts fade with the rising wind, the gusts pick up as I run along into it, the trees dance and sing with the movement of air, my soul exults in joining the ballet of nature all around. There is a light mist, thin, barely perceptible, until I turn a corner and see bright rays of sunlight shining through gaps in tall oaks, spotlights shining down upon the trail. A squirrel runs out in front of me, scurries back up the tree. I keep running. Until I get home at least. Then I stop, let the aroma of the forest fill my nostrils as I catch my breath. Five miles up and around, and countless thoughts dealt with and filed away, I was cleansed of soul and refreshed of mind.

There are benefits to this life.

The day was fine all around, the kind of day which doesn’t prompt a lot of consideration as everything seemed to be just right. I wrote all morning, ran in the afternoon, filled up spaces with assorted other tasks, and now finish the day tired and ready to begin again tomorrow. Each day our daily bread. I pray the same for tomorrow.