Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Reflections

I learned about the explosions at the Boston Marathon on my way to run on the Appalachain Trail after work.  It had happened less than an hour before, so details were still sketchy, but I did know that  people had died at the finish line area.  My thoughts went immediately to my friends and the members of my Brooks family who were running Boston.  But then I started thinking about all the family members and children who wait excitedly for their runner at the finish.  By the time I hit the ridgeline and started  downhill, my throat had closed up and I was hyperventilating.  All weekend there had been so much excitement among runners about the race that they had trained so hard for and then to have it end in such tragedy.

 I stopped until I could breathe again and looked around, appreciating my solitude and the relative safety of these mountains and woods.  But then I had a reality check.  The suspect in my first murder scene as a police officer had fled to Pennsylvania and killed two hikers on the AT.  Less than a mile from where I was standing, Gary Hilton had dumped the body of John Bryant, an elderly hiker he had killed near Brevard.  About two miles away, Alan and I had the enounter with the crazy guy in the van at the trailhead, who acted like he had a gun.  Two miles in the other direction, I had an unsettling encounter with a hiker who may have been Eric Rudolph, the Olympic bomber, when he first went on the run. A friend of mine had a violent enounter while running the AT.  This trail and these mountains are no more safe than anywhere else.  But as I continued to look around, I still found a sense of  peace that only these mountains bring me.  As I ran, three older through-hikers, obviously enjoying their day, blissfully unaware of what was happening in the world, stepped aside so I could pass by.  They were delighted to learn that they only had a short distance left to the road  and thanked me so I could continue on my "gallop".  "Don't take this the wrong way," one of them said as I left, "but you smell good."  

What a great place this trail is.  Moments that make me smile sure do outweigh the ones that make me sad.  This world is such a place, too.  

1 comment:

Big Daddy Diesel said...

My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by yesterdays tragic events.