A View from the Top
A Letter to My Friend Gary


Gordon Cherr,


You are right, it is good and important too, to get out and see that we live in but a tiny, tiny part of the country, on a larger continent, on a planet, in a galaxy, in a universe, etc., etc.

It is all part of our larger trip…and running on this spinning sphere is simply a tiny component in all of that. It is the struggle that counts, how we live it, how we help others, how we fit in, or maybe none of the above.

My running, like your running, has undergone and will continue to undergo changes and shifts, it will rise and fall in significance. I don’t feel all the competitive urge any longer, not much need to compete except with myself from time to time. Years ago I would have regarded that as an excuse by an old guy as he got slower, and if that is what it is, I stand convicted. But I really don’t care…I love to feel the hot and cold, wet and dry, I like the effort required, the people I meet from time to time, and so on and so forth. Birds, dogs, cats, fox, screaming eagles and mockingbirds. Yeah…clouds too and stars.

Some days I do not feel like running and I try to not castigate myself for it, as opposed to just never wanting to run again. You will run if you want to, it’s part of your life, sometimes a big part, but it isn’t life…there is more to that sometimes.

I saw something yesterday while running at Lake Overstreet that I have only seen one time before. I doubt that I have ever told anyone because it sheds light on my sanity or lack thereof, at the reader’s discretion and judgment. Anyway…

I was running in Torreya, the upper trail, all alone, about 5 years ago, and saw an apparition (I think…). It was a person (I guess…), dressed completely in white, or so I thought, ahead of me on that winding trail. I thought nothing of it at first, you know how you had better watch your footing or else, out there. But it was ahead of me, I could see it through the trees for like 15-20 minutes and at some point was curious enough to try to catch whomever else was out there. It is just a game, you know, you do it all the time too, when you see someone dawdling on the trail ahead of you, sometimes, you try to catch them, right?

Well, I never could catch this person, and then finally came around a sharp curve where there was a long straight section of downhill trail, and he/she should have been right ahead of me, but guess what? No one was there, no one in sight.

That was a little spooky at first, then I just accepted it for what it was. Meaning, I had no idea what it was. In my mind’s eye, it was a woman dressed like a nun, in a long flowing skirt, a nun’s habit on her head, with that cape down her back, but she was dressed completely in white. I get the implications. My final analysis…I was simply mistaken or hallucinating some on the trail. Welcome to distance running. Whatever…

Yesterday early AM sunrise on the Lake Overstreet trail, on the far side nearer to Lake Hall, I am running the loop clockwise. Same thing. A flash of white moving through the trees on the trail ahead of me, but definitely on the trail as I came up through what I call the “S” curves. The rising sun is right in your eyes there, too. So I tried to pick it up and get closer and I thought that I was or so it seemed, and then…nothing. But the exact same overall impression. A woman running, covered in flowing white from her head to her feet.

Some day there will be more to this little story, or maybe nothing at all.

If you see her, let me know.