I feel pain in my knee tender like gums of yellow teeth peeling back from flesh revealing scar tissue fuzzy like plaque connecting to small veins that spiderweb to my chest, lungs, and heart. I continue to run on the treadmill and pavement too lazy for the mud and snow of early spring still satisfied I’m taking around 30 seconds a week off my mile. All of us who aspire to any endurance endeavors, anytime alone in the mountains, any speeds that provide the rush—we all know the satisfaction in pain.
I remember running Sheep Mountain keeping everyone behind bent over my knees praying for puke knowing it’s the thoughts I need to purge. I always slow down a mile or two before I plan to finish the run. I always go fastest the third or fourth mile. The mind a crazy thing bouncing up and down like the feet pounding pavement and the spine pushing bone on top of soft spongy disks all tick-tocking together as I loop around the river as clouds swirl and cover Pagosa Peak. There is satisfaction in hearing the creaks and spurts of the human machine.
I hope to start riding my bike this summer and look forward to wind, always the feel of wind on my face. Soft (sometimes firm) fingers against my cheeks and pulling at my hair pressing my clothes into the moist skin underneath my elbows and knees. I wonder what it might take to push up over Wolf Creek Pass freeing up the spine and letting my haunches propel me over the cliffs I’ve learned are now a part of my home. My lips curl into a smile as I think about myself riding the brakes the way down hand curling like a shriveled monkey’s claw until I’m proficient and fly over just like a crow.
I had a feeling that I didn’t belong here in southwest Colorado but I no more belong or am an outsider than other folks running by the river, folks riding bikes over the pass, folks watching the clouds whisper to the sun. Somewhere, someplace, my land was once deeded too and I had the generational knowledge I miss so much. But now I am in the soil breaking through the hard casing of seeds growing roots. It is my time to sink back into my body and back into the mountains and trust what my heart knows—I own nothing, not even this body.
“Body like a mountain, Heart like an ocean, Mind like the sky”