Monday, July 20 2009 @ 08:35 AM EDT Contributed by: Squonk Views: 1580
July 18, 2009
Carolina North Forest Manager
On behalf of the participants of the second annual Philosopher’s Way Trail Runs and their organizing body, the TrailHeads, it gives us certain pleasure to present Carolina North Forest a donation in the amount of three thousand, five hundred dollars ($3500). We hope that this gift will assist your efforts to maintain the trail network and to expand your mission to enhance the beauty of the Forest.
First, allow us a moment to reflect on this being the “second annual” Forest gathering. In his book, A Conservationist Manifesto, Scott Russell Sanders writes:
A man or woman who ventures outside the human bubble and pays attention to a given landscape season after season, year after year, may eventually become a true inhabitant of that place, taking it in through every doorway of the body, bearing it steadily in heart and mind.
And on May 2 of this year such opportunity was afforded to three hundred or so trail runners who stopped by the Forest for a bit of fun. Over one hundred of these participants had not visited the Forest prior to the event, and nearly as many were first time trail racers. Each has their own collage of memories of the day, but all told, racers and volunteers alike gleefully wallowed in the uniqueness of their endeavors.
Among the TrailHeads I have heard such remembrances as, “it was like so Zen, I can’t put it into words,” “the competitiveness of the aid stations was awesome fun,” and “that was fun; did it really happen?” Likewise, the runners were positive, and many faced challenges they would have never known playing Wii at home or watching TV. “Pinkie” proved to us that you can break a finger quite horribly and still run. “X-man” – all eight years of him – proved you can fall down, get hurt, get up, collect yourself and continue to the finish line.
The race continues to be sponsored by friends of this community who care deeply for both the runners and the land on which we gather. Their support, like that of the volunteers and club members who orient their compasses to giving something back provides an active foundation on which to build a spot on each year’s calendar to romp along the Philosopher’s Way. We love having fun; we’re fortunate for the many chances the Forest provides.
And what of the Forest? How might it feel about the commotion of a race and the ongoing disruptions of its many visitors? It may be that it understands our need to assemble to celebrate “outside the human bubble,” knowing that when we return, alone, we can more peacefully reflect on the currents in our stream of life. The Forest is a quiet island in that stream, where we reach beyond ourselves, embrace new friends, and nurture the memories that expand the collective consciousness of that Place.