Moments of pure perfection
I ran 10 miles yesterday morning, per my plan. I was recovering from a headache and didn’t feel 100%, so the last few miles got a bit tough but I still managed to finish a bit faster than my goal pace. I was tired afterwards and allowed myself the luxury of a long nap later in the afternoon. My knees felt a little achy last night but by this morning I was fine, no knee pain or muscle soreness at all. I may be finally reaching a state of fitness such that I can go out, push hard, and not be totally wiped out for days. This is a good thing, given that I expect to run three half marathons over the next five months. I won’t have room for days or weeks of slack time for recovery between races.
Even though I had to work hard yesterday, I still took the time to look around and enjoy the beauty surrounding me. I happened to hit the waterfront trail during an incoming tide with decent-sized surf, and I gratefully absorbed the “WHOOOSH-crack-crackle-crack” sound and energy of the waves hitting the rocky shore and then rapidly receding. I saw six female red-breasted mergansers swimming in tight formation, with no males or babies in sight — I guess it was “girls’ day out.”
Today was “girls’ day out” for Cathy and me, as we decided that a trip to the Hoh rainforest and out to the west coast was just the thing for such a lovely late summer day. The Hoh is considered one of the “must-see” places in Olympic National Park, as it’s deep in the heart of the rainiest part of the rainforest. We walked both of the short loops that start at the visitors’ center, about 2.4 miles total. There were lots of people, mostly Asian families, but we had a few moments when we were relatively alone and could simply listen to birds and the river. There is a much longer trail that would have taken us well away from the tourists, but we had additional plans for the day. Besides, it turned out that the Hoh isn’t any more spectacular than other places in the park that are much closer and more accessible… to those who know where they are (and I’m not telling you, not here). The Hoh may have a larger percentage of truly huge trees, and it has some bright grassy meadows. These natural clearings are due in part to the grazing habits of elk (they eat the seedlings of anything that might become large, which make certain open spots tend to be come more open over time), but we didn’t see any elk today.
These meadows create wide-open views of both solo giant trees and “colonnades,” which are astonishing formations of trees that grow atop “nurse logs,” or fallen trees. As this photo shows, some of these latter-generation colonnade nurslings are giant trees themselves.
After our walk we enjoyed a picnic lunch bothered only by a few curious bees, and then headed back out toward highway 101 and points further south. We stopped briefly at Ruby Beach, which is one of the most photographed locations in the park, but it was so packed we had to park the car way up the road and could only catch a glimpse of the sea stack and beach through the trees. So we continued south to the beachfront Kalaloch Lodge.
Kurt and I had visited Kalaloch at least twice, but we’d somehow managed to miss seeing the LODGE, and I honestly thought the resort consisted of a small store, a few beach-front cabins, and the beach itself. The lodge’s restaurant, with its stunning outdoor deck, came as a complete surprise to me. Given Kalaloch’s reputation as one of the best storm-watching sites on the Pacific coast, we were thrilled to have bright sunshine, a light breeze, and a temperature of perhaps 60 degrees. We sipped our beers, enjoyed a light meal, looked at each other and agreed, “This is a perfect moment. We must treasure moments like this.”
So we did, and so we shall. I’m truly beginning to see that life is lived in moments — and that some of our moments can be rather awful — so the thing to do is to be fully present in those perfect moments, feel them, experience them, and then try to create the conditions in which they might appear again.