I Am At None with Nature
Article by: Michael SelmanReproduced with permission of the author
Once, I read a Woody Allen quote that said, "I am at two with nature." I'm not sure where I read that, but my hunch is it was in one of my many John Jerome runner's logs, because I don't do a whole lot of other reading. But that quote, much like almost everything else about Woody Allen, I never really understood. (Maybe you were thinking about being one with the trail ?)
For the last month or so, my own take on it has been that "I am at none with nature," But I think I can explain what I mean when I say it. I came to that realization early this morning, when I stepped out the door for my run.
For nine months of the Atlanta year, I look forward to virtually every run with eager anticipation, and I'm ready to meet nature's challenges. In reality, spring and autumn practically beg you to run in them, and pose virtually no opposition at all. They are mostly perfect for running, at just about any time of day or night. And the scenery is gorgeous. Whether it is the lightly scented and heavily colorful new blooms of spring, or the outstanding fiery foliage of autumn, I find myself at one with nature.
Winter can pose a slightly more objectionable obstacle for some, but I personally enjoy charging into the teeth of a biting wind, and I always make a point of jumping into the midst of a rare falling snow. I'd rather be out running when it's 20 degrees than 50 degrees, so even on weekends, I'm most often out running before the first hints o daylight. It's me against the elements, and I'm always ready for the battle, and the victory. In the back of my winter mind, I am always reminding myself that there are many parts of the country where they would scoff at our thin skin anyway.
But then there are those three saddest of all possible words for runners like me. Those words are June, July and August. The temperature rises in tandem with inflated race times, and just the thought of running much more than four miles at a stretch exhausts me. Even at 5 in the morning, there is often nary a hint of coolness in the soggy morning air, and the humidity is often close to 100%. There is nothing desirable under the sun, or the moon during the dog days of summer. The same stars that shone so brightly in the crisp winter skies are hardly noticeable now and spring's bright colors have given way to a monochrome and mundane green. And sadly, I have not been at one with nature. I have been at none with it.
But this morning was different. When I opened the door to go out in the darkness, I was greeted with a surprisingly dry cool breeze, which hinted more of September than July, and when I looked up, I saw a bright sliver of moon flanked by two fading stars and one bright planet. It felt like I was in another time and place. The time would be autumn, and the place would be back at one with nature. And suddenly, I was thrilled by my surroundings, and I really felt like running. It was the first time I have felt that way in a long while.
And maybe tomorrow, if it's another clear cool and dry morning, I will finally understand what Woody Allen was talking about when he said, "I am at two with nature."
Michael Selman Roads Scholar Atlanta Georgia USAMichael Selman is a freelance writer who has appeared in publications and web sites throughout the world, including Runner's World, Footnotes, and CoolRunning.