Brought up in central Maine by religious parents who loved the outdoors, I long sensed a relationship between trails and transcendence. The trail taken to a secluded fishing spot on Saturday shared in the mystery of the Way in focus on Sunday. The ski trail behind our house had the ups and downs—and ons and offs—of Christian’s road in Pilgrim’s Progress. Both the last five miles of the Appalachian Trail, an hour’s drive from our house, and the path of the righteous led to glory: the peak of Mt. Katahdin and the kingdom of heaven.
I continue to enjoy the trail: an easy walk with family to an overlook of Fall Creek Falls, a solitary hike on a section of the Appalachian Trail, or a trail race in the Big South Fork National Park. And I enjoy the road, especially the back road that I might run on through the farmland and woods near my house or bike on over mountains and plains.
I continue to believe in, reflect on, search for, wonder about, ignore, explore, and rejoice in a goodness that transcends all barriers. And I wonder about how our daily efforts to transcend boundaries--physical, psychological, social, political, religious, cultural or spiritual—relate to the ever transcendent.
The trail, the road, the way and the transcendent have been literally and metaphorically linked since ancient times and in diverse cultures, philosophies and religions. I hope that my posts in this tradition may be an occasion for considering how our few steps are part of human journeying—walking with others, striking out on our own, respecting rules of the race, making our unique and ever-changing network of ways on familiar streets and foreign terrain, in community runs and on solo hikes. I hope that the posts may be an encouragement to keep on keepin’ on in times of fatigue and stumbling, to appreciate the beauty around us, and to communicate with each other about “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable.”
Having benefited by others’ posts about specific races and trails, I also hope that some of mine will have information about events, routes, or practices that can be helpful for deciding about participation or preparation.
Trails we follow,