Last night I went out with my group for a trail run. A lot of the members of the group are out of town for weekend races. A lot of them went to Pocatello for a marathon. Some others went to Disneyland for a half. But my days of traveling to races are over – for now. So the group was very tiny. I think there were only 6 of us. They all had “100,” “70.3,” “Ironman,” and other impressive t-shirts or stickers on their cars. I have a mere “26.2” on my car. When we started, they all took off, as I knew they would because they are real runners – fast runners and probably an average of 20 to 35 years younger than me, and I was left alone.
I was in this place of incredible beauty (see above) and was mesmerized by it. I was taking photos and having spiritual experiences. Until I wasn’t. The clouds were rolling in, the wind was extreme, and I was lost. I had no clue where I was. It was clear that I was not even on the same trail as my compatriots. I thought I would just go out 2.5 miles and turn around. But when other paths intersected, I couldn’t recall if I had come that way or not. As I ran through tree areas, I could hear leaves crunching and twigs breaking to the sides of me. I started getting the creeps. And then I looked to my side and saw a HUGE coyote, acting wily. It scared me. If I were with a group, I would have said “hey! look! a coyote!” But I was alone and it looked so menacing.
I turned around. When I did so, I could see that my footprints were the only recent ones on the trail. Crikeys. I started running faster. I came around a bend and saw the whole group off in the distance standing looking at me. Oh dear. When I got to them, I said “Please tell me you aren’t waiting for me?” They said something nice, but it was clear they were worried about me. I told them about the coyote and told them I was heading back. We left very cordially. They are such nice people! You would think super special jocks like that would be snotty, but they aren’t.
I kept running and running and running. It was, by this time, getting dark. I was out in the middle of nowhere, with a whole lot of wild animals. Although I had my phone, I had no service. I couldn’t find myself on my GPS. I had no idea where I was and I was getting terrified. I was praying the prayers of the desperate. Embarrassingly, I was crying. I finally prayed to St. Anthony to help me find my car – came around the next bend, and there was the parking lot! How amazing! I have never been so happy to see my car.
As I drove away, I saw the full moon over the red rock formations. Just gorgeous. I happened to see the rest of the group as they were running within visibility of the road, I rolled down the window and honked. I was glad to know that no one would be worrying about me.
Why is it that being terrified like that makes you feel so alive once you know you have survived? I used to fly with my ex-husband, and I hated it. But once my feet hit the earth, I would feel so grateful and so, well, alive – it was almost worth the terror.
I am working at home today. I will take a long lunch to watch my baby granddaughter while her parents go have an ultrasound to see the newest baby.
My son called and asked me what I was doing on Friday…. I thought “how weird, I am working.” But I asked instead what he needed. And I was happy to be able to say “YES, I can do that.”
If I have to work into the evening to get my work done, that is fine with me. I will get to make lunch for my granddaughter today. Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup. That is one of my favorite comfort foods. I think I shall teach her to like it too!
Grateful, grateful, grateful to be alive, to be sober, to have a family, to have the ability to say “YES!” God has been so good to me. And grateful to St. Anthony for leading me to the parking lot last night!
I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me; but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brethren the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” — Revelation 22:8-9