Friday, January 05, 2007

Tao or Taos?

I'm gonna move - to Taos, New Mexico. Oh, wait, that was just a wishful dream. When you live in a place that boasts 2 of the wettest months ever on record within the last year, and both of those months have been in the winter when the average day brings only 8 hourse of daylight and 16 hours of darkness, what else should one hope for? The temperature ranges from a 35 degree low to a 45 degree high. Not really cold enough for the thrill of snow, and not warm enough for much else. The constant forecast is partly cloudy with a chance of meatballs. Most days I live in smartwools, polar fleece, and a hat.


December 21st brought the winter solstice which means a gradual 6-month increase in daylight hours. Then Christmas happened and we went on vacation. Probably the best way to sum up vacation would be to link you to my getnout buddy's post to see the photographs. I'd have to say the highlights for me were: skiing up Thompson Ridge, learning and loving skate skis, seeing the glorious pink sunrises light up the sky and the hills across the valley from the cabin every morning, snowshoeing up to the top of Patterson Mountain - it was like being on top of the world, and the peacefulness of my solo showshoe through the cemetery down the road.

Running? Did I do that? Not really unless you count chasing my husband 1,000 ft. straight down Patterson Mtn. through 3 feet of snow, wearing snowshoes. It was sorta like trail running and I laughed most of the way down. Since December 24th, my only run has been Wednesday (2 days ago). I had to force the Wednesday run - all 3.6 miles of it - the missing .4 mile was when I decided it was much more enjoyable to walk along the beach and track the waves from the passing tanker as they started way out in the bay and finally crashed on shore.

I feel compelled to discuss the new year because - well, it's a new year - at least until Chinese New Year February 18th - and then it's all sort of confusing. My year has begun in sort of an awkard way. I rely a lot on technology in my life. My special order 'hard to find' earphones for my ipod have broken, our stereo isn't working very well, and my computer crashes right now after about 5 minutes of having any browser or any document open. No itunes, no net surfing, no blogging unless I am quick or hijack my husband's laptop. Life is quieter without music. Part of me wonders if it's like a message to me to focus on the quiet and solitude and theat there is something for me to learn there. I've been really into books on naturalists lately. I'm currently reading a book I borrowed from a friend on John Muir (a huge idol of mine since I was about 12 years old). I have another book that I had on reserve from the library - Silence and Solitude: Yellowstone's Winter Wilderness by Tom Murphy. The photos leave me in true amazement. It's ironic that at a time when I'm focusing on solitude, simplicity, and nature, that all of my technology toys should break.

I've long been pondering the idea of what to be when I grow up and find myself with an internal struggle for the current time in my life. I have a love of running - of the drive, the power, the endorphins, the struggle, the sweat, the goals, the times . . . I have a passion for nature - for reading and writing about it, but moreso for existing in it, and photographing it to freeze the moment for eternity - to always enjoy the beauty and peace from that given moment.

I love both of these things, but I feel that in my world, they are opposite extremes, and if I lean too far one direction, I'll lose the other. Thus, I sit in the middle and don't give my whole self to either one. I feel like if I go crazy and really train to my ability that I'll lose the passive side of myself - the nature lover. And I feel that if I relax and take time capturing the stillness of nature, that I'll slow down too much and lose sight of the ambitions of running. I know these thoughts might seem illogical - but they're how I feel. My resolutions for the new year are to find a balance somewhere within myself and allow myself to live all of what I love, right from the heart, every single day.

And I want to learn to play chess . . it's a long story with my daughter - sort of a deal someone suggested we make - that if she learned to type on a qwerty keyboard with proper finger positions instead of the hunt and peck method, then I would finally learn to play a game that she loves.


IHateToast said...

aw man. i used to go to taos all the time. 10 hour drive from dallas to taos. would move there in a heartbeat. if you go, i'll be forced to pack up the tent here, shove the manboy in the backpack and relocate. and if i can't afford a place in taos, then i'll settle for tucumcari.

enjoy the silence if you're in an area where it's worth it. i could run forever without tunes if i'm away from cars and trucks. in the city i need to tunes.

Anne said...

I used to go through similar weather-related doldrums when I lived in Alaska. And they usually led to the same type of contemplation. In any event, yours is a different twist on what appears to be many running bloggers No. 1 goal: balance. I look forward to seeing how you try to achieve it.

Danielle said...

We finally have sun, get it about once a week here in the winter...I would rather have a bit warmer temps and the gray and gloom than the extreme cold and sun I think, but somedays I'm not so sure. I'll say though, running has saved my life many a time on these long winter days. Thank God we are past the solstice though...days are getting longer!!!

I'll agree with ihatetoast, sometimes it's nice to have silence. No sounds, no outside stimuli, just the quiet...go to Venice, the quiet is so amazing!!

Just12Finish said...

Hmmm ... what about Running Photography? There's got to be a lot of beauty in runners in motion, no?

Sarah said...

I think you should consider doing more trailrunning! : )

Those pictures are stunning!

JustRun said...

Ah, that elusive balance. I believe, though maybe not 100% of the time, it can be done. You probably do it more than you realize, too.

Kurt said...

Balance. So easy to say and so hard to find. Never stays there and always shifting. Never gets easier I am afraid to say.

Pursue your dreams. Go for your passion and learn to play chess!

Awesome post today.

Angie said...

mmmm taos

stephruns said...

taking it day by day works well for me.

latley i'm searchign for quietness too. That's why I love the trail so much - all you might hear are the birds and your breath!!!

Joe said...

I share your pain with regards to the rain and wind storms in the Pacific Northwest this year. Please Mother Nature...enough already!

iliketoast said...

pawn to king 4 .... note: it is a pawn not a prawn and the horses head is a knight not a horsey ... that ends lesson one.

D said...

The area you live in looks beautiful although I've never actually been there. The rain is what would keep me from moving there!

One of the toughest things in life seems to be finding balance. Great post - as always.

Josh said...

Great photos and post. I highly recommend learning to play chess. It is a fun and quiet game of thought (it can be irritating too!).