There’s nothing like going running to gain perspective. When the big snowstorm dumped 24” on Fork Mountain 12 days ago, I sought lower ground in Celo, where my parents live. Although the ground is still covered here, I have company, warmth, food, and laundry. What I don’t have is privacy or much space—and so begins the adjustment as I ready myself for a year (or so) of travel and residencies. Privacy and space will be very little in the coming adventures, but opportunities will be many.
Starting out near the Horse Rock Trailhead in the Black Mountains (where my parent’s driveway is), I head downhill for a mile and a half, slowly descending to about 2000 feet elevation. It’s a loping warm up and one that lifts my mood by its ease and rhythm. I can feel tied up, grumpy, stir-crazy, or frustrated…but  by the time I turn around and retrace my steps, this time climbing steadily uphill, the ultimate challenge and award await me. My mind and body couldn’t be happier.
It’s easy to forget I am running uphill (usually my most-loathed activity) because I have the entire west wall of the Black Mountains to stare at as I move along. The highest range this side of the Mississippi, they are perhaps the most properly-named of the many ranges named after various colors. In every light these mountains are true to their name: morning black, dusk black, evergreen black, slick black, black poking through snow, bear black—you name it.
Cooling down at the base of Shuford Creek road, I walk the last ¼ mile uphill, check my parent’s mail, and call to the dog. If he comes down, we’ll walk another ½ mile or so up into forest so he can patrol. If not, I’ll turn up the drive, content and tired, then settle back into my temporary writer’s seat and get back to work.

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