Why Trail Running is Helpful in Times of Woe

Over the weekend I rewatched To Kill a Mockingbird, one of my favorite movies. I wish I could say, “Oh how far we’ve come since then,” and I would like to believe it, but the continued news of the racist Donald Trump having such a large following of American voters tells me otherwise. This is the point of my frustration lately, so if it comes through on my blog, I guess you’ll know why. I feel as though many of the values I learned when growing up are just so blatantly missing in the majority of people these days. I’m not talking about political or ideological values as much as simple ways to be: be kind to one another, be tolerant, open your mind to difference, do not judge others, pay attention to science while understanding parables and fables illustrated in certain old literature, love your neighbors, and do unto others what you wish to be done unto you.

It’s not really happening. This old world is ruled by environmentally ruinous markets, corruption, and racist/bigoted/fundamentalist people. Sure, there are always people who try to shine a light through the darkness, but it seems sometimes like it’s one step forward, five back. I know that I cannot live a life stressed about these things, and generally I try to look forward with a positive attitude, but this past week it hasn’t been happening. I don’t think I need to spell out the things we should be worried about if Trump becomes president, but for starters, check out Donald Trump: Make America Hate Again.

So that’s when I get out on the trail. Yesterday after work my husband and I set up our newish tent to see how to put it together. It was exciting. After thinning out more turnips and replanting them, I climbed into the tent like a little kid and imagined our camp trip this weekend, which I’m so very excited for! Last night as I fell asleep, thoughts of the surreal scenes in my newest novel, camping, and running tried to sooth me to sleep, but intermittently I thought of Donald Trump as president, and it bothered me so much I lay awake for the longest time.

Perhaps some don’t know this, but Vancouver has very overvalued housing, which is a product of a speculative, corrupt housing market. We have thought seriously about moving to another place, and one of the areas my husband is interested in is Portland, Oregon. My daughter also loves the place, and who knows, maybe some in our family can be geographically closer again. I will work on my dual-citizenship after our summer holiday, so that it could be easier for us to move to the states, if (big if) we ever decide to, but there is one condition under which I would never move there, and that is if Trump becomes president. However, the idea that so many Americans support racist, hateful ideas makes me not really want to live in the country where that is happening either, regardless of who becomes president.

After a restless sleep, I thought there is no way I’m going to run today. I’m exhausted from work and worry. I probably got about three good hours of sleep last night. But I know that a good trail run can improve my spirit and health. It’s like a miracle shot. I know I’ve exalted running in nature often, but it’s addicting and, like the wild, is calling. When running, I can think back to when my America was great (it actually wasn’t most of the time–it’s just rose-colored glasses), but running brings out not only endorphins, it opens a connection with what’s left of our natural world and all the beauty and goodness there–a time of sanctuary in which I remember the delightful, fortunate way I was raised and try to hold that goodness within in times of so much corruption and maliciousness.

“It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.” (Scout, To Kill a Mockingbird)

So, off I go!