46 Days To Go
Reason 93: Wildlife
Being out in the parks and on the trails, you see a lot of people. High school cross country teams are frequent. Dog walkers are common. Lone and tandem runners. A good amount of bicyclist. Even the occasional stroller pusher or kid-corraller.
But the best thing to see is the wildlife. Squirrels abound everywhere out here. It’s the deer, snakes, groundhogs and the huge variety of birds that always make me smile. Where I grew up, there were pigeons and sparrows and that was about it. Here running out in nature, however cultivated it might be, life flows over out of the bushes.
Sometimes I have to leap over a snake in the trail. One time in a small trail race the lead runner way ahead of me paused to move a turtle out of the path. I’ve many times been within arm’s reach of one or more deer.
Today, however, a peregrine falcon who I was watching left its perch and flew right over my head, within a foot clearance. It was beautiful and exhilarating and the best close encounter I’ve ever had. And I eagerly look forward to the one that tops it.
Reason 92: Bystanders
Remember all those people I described above? They are a lot more mundane in our everyday experience, but can be pretty darn interesting themselves. I’ve met a group of elderly whittlers, (that is working wood with a small knife), artists painting the visitor center, folks going to a costumed tea and martial artist practicing forms for public interest.
And of course all the others. Brief chats at a road crossing with a bicyclist like today are delightful. Running a mile with an older lady and discussing why we are out there was enlightening. Folks at a race or a club event are always friendly.
I may not seek these people or animals out, but running brings me in contact with them.