This is my buddy John:
(awww happy in the Gorge last weekend, picture by John)
Way back in the day, we used to work together — his classroom was just down the hall from mine and we both taught Language Arts. In fact, he got all of my students when they graduated from my 7th grade class and joined him for 8th, so he knew exactly how shitty of a teacher I was my first year, and hopefully how much better I got over time;)
I don’t remember why, but somewhere in the middle of teaching land, he asked me if I wanted to go trail running. I don’t think, at the time, that I really knew what “trail running” was. I ran — I think that since college I’ve basically always run in some form or another — but mostly in my neighborhood, or parks near my house, and I’d never thought of trail running as a thing.
But John was all about going out to trails that I’d only really ever thought of as hiking trails, and running them. One super early Sunday, he picked me up from my house, drove us out to the Columbia River Gorge, and introduced me to what trail running was all about — which, as far as I could tell, was walking up the hills and running down them, which sort of felt like cheating. heh.
But over many years full of ebb and flow, we’ve gone on a million different trail runs, mostly in the Gorge but also other places, including one totally magical run in Forest Park right after it snowed. Some have been real runs; some have been more on the hike side; some have been deterred by ice or mudslides; some have ended with John wading across snow-surrounded Eagle Creek like a goober and then tripping on his soggy pants in the parking lot and thinking I pushed him over. (Ha! That one still makes me laugh out loud when I think of it.) All have been good times, and all have overlaid happy memories on many, many miles of the Gorge.
(some have been very frozen good times!)
Without running, I don’t think I really would have gotten to know John. There’s something about spending time doing a physical activity that promotes sharing and thinking in a way that, say, going to coffee and sitting across from each other to have a conversation (or sitting in a teacher’s lounge) really doesn’t. At least for me. We’ve had some great conversations and plenty of ridiculously goofy moments over the years, the kind of magical thing where sometimes we go forever without seeing each other and then pick right back up again, and I don’t think really any of it would have happened — it certainly wouldn’t continue happening — if not for our intermittent Sunday runs.
So I don’t know. No point here really except that I feel appreciative of this kind of thing in my life, and John kind of people. Who would I be without all of you to show me new things, push me in new ways, and help me be the stasia I am always becoming?