There is something to be said about going somewhere different every year. About being transfixed by new sights; mesmerized by new sounds. About gasping at scenery you’ve only seen in photographs; about watching the sun rise and set from any number of heavenly horizons.
And yet there is also something calming and breath-releasing about showing up at the same place every year. About knowing you could find your way almost blindfolded, but you want your eyes open: To memories evoked in every turn. To tweaks of scenery depending on how the clouds and sun and stars align, and the angles at which you see them. To feeling like you’re where you belong, and where you are meant to be.
You arrive and unpack and feel almost giddy with possibilities. Maybe this will be the year you climb higher or hike further than you’ve ever gone before. The year you’re not afraid, or at least don’t mind if your heart beats like it will come right out of your chest.
Or maybe it will be the summer that you just stay still, ogling this sweet, sweet earth from what surely is one of the most beautiful vantage points in the entire world — or at least within 15 hours from home.
That is where my family and I were this summer and last summer and almost too many summers before then to count. And where, God willing, we will be for many summers to come.
Though I have other trips in the making, this is my given, my rock, my crazy quilt of comfort. Where I take slow and deliberate breaths from deep within — not minding at all when the exhale gets caught on a sob of gratitude and of remembrance.
So for familiarity, for tradition, and for falling in love all over again, The Grateful Runner say thank you.