Sunday, October 24, 2010
Today's photo is a pretty good representation of all of that: a path, pleasantly sunny but shaded by the trees overhead, curving off into the distance. It's empty, but comfortably so, and the curve ahead opens up endless possibilities of what lies beyond. It was taken south of Alexandria in Northern Virginia this May, just a few days before I moved to Arizona after six years in the Washington, DC area (with a year in France between years two and three).
The path is part of the Mt. Vernon Trail, which follows the Virginia side of the Potomac River from Theodore Roosevelt Island/Rosslyn all the way down to Mt. Vernon, George Washington's historic estate. I've run more than 1,000 miles on that trail, pounding out frustrations, heartache and fear or bounding along with happiness, peace or laughter in my thoughts, depending on the day. I know its turns, hills and bumps like the back of my hand, but the scenery is never quite the same from one day to the next. This particular day was beautiful - spring, just hinting at summer, with a warm wind blowing upriver.
I didn't go much further than the curve up ahead that day, but this photo perfectly captures the feel of the trail and running itself for me: a place I can go, a thing I can do, whatever my mood, that lets me clear my head and can take me somewhere familiar or somewhere new - it's up to me. Travel is like that, too. And when I get stressed out about what to pack or where to go or what I'm going to do once I get there, I can pull this image into my head and remember that whatever's around the bend, chances are, it's going to be beautiful.