Pathfinding & Found Paths

Sunday Runday and we should have known better than to go onto the icy trails after an overnight snowfall less than a week after an ice storm.

But the sun was peeking over the eastern horizon and lighting up the December sky in all sorts of pretty colours, so the ice seemed like a temporary problem which could easily enough be solved by four guys in winter running shoes.

compared to this time last year are you more lost or found?

It wasn’t a temporary problem, of course.

And no amount of winter grip can make up for ten kilometers of hidden ice under two centimeters of fresh, light snow.

No amount of dodging into the neighbourhood streets and hoping for better traction on the suburban car-packed roads made much of difference.

No amount of pathfinding through the crunchy, fresh snow counteracted the frustration of pulled muscles and near falls and aching hip flexors.

Like so much this year, running has become something of a microcosm of my life and an analogy for everything else. A determined effort to engage with the world that has been met with all manner of resistance no matter my level of persistence. This week it happened to be icy sidewalks, but two weeks ago it was heel pain. A few months ago we were battling wasps. Over the summer I tripped and hurt my shoulder as I collided full force with the trunk of a fir tree.

Yet, we keep going and trying to make it fun.

Likewise, this whole year has been something of an exercise in navigating.

The pandemic. Probably enough said about that, but then again…

Work changes have taxed my frustated mind.

Friends and family seem complicated by twisted politics and nearly fully electronic relationships.

Weather. Supply chains. Misinformation.

Rules. Regulations.

Waves and lockdowns and everything else.

It’s hard to even recall that two years ago I was feeling quite solidly purposeful in my own way. Things felt found. Things were on course and on track.

At the start of this year, though, I think that like so many others I was feeling not just a little lost, but caught in a maze of a world gone mad. We cheered the end of 2020 as if it somehow marked the end of the worst of it. Yet, here we approach 2021 and I’m not clear on if I’m still lost, somewhat found, or just resigned to the newish reality in which we exist now.

The last year has been a little like running on ice. Uncertain underfoot and apt to cause a slip unless one watches every step carefully. At the end one feels a bit accomplished, a bit sore, but a bit foolish for venturing out looking for a running path where none should rightly exist.

On the other hand, the only other option is to stay home and wallow in the lack of action.

Maybe it’s not a bad thing to go pathfinding after all, through snow and ice… or through a crazy, slippery year.