The Logical Philosopher

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Day I Ran to the Middle of Nowhere

Today I found the Middle of Nowhere.

Last week Jason Kottke referenced enRoute Magazine's August issue. Jason said he found his "Middle of Nowhere" during a recent trip to Minneapolis at the Mill City Museum.

Middle of Nowhere isn't a physical location. not anymore. In this era, when we have Google Mapped every corner of the earth (and some other planets), almost no place is so remote it's truly nowhere.

No, we think the Middle of Nowhere is a state of mind. It's the satisfied pleasure-tinged-with-insider's-delight that you feel when you discover something pretty great in a place where you didn't know it thrived. So that when you experience this thing, whether it's in the middle of a major city or a cornfield, you think, This? Is here? I had no idea!
Today I found my Middle of Nowhere.

thump thump. Out for a run I reached my usual return marker, but my body kept moving.
thump thump thump. Pushing up the hill, across the road and down the path.
thump thump. Bursting through the trees and onto the trail I increased my pace.
thump thump thump. Flying around the bird watchers and over the rooted path.
thump thump. Cresting a hill and plunging back down into a valley.
thump thump thump. Accelerating past another marker, plunging deeper into the forest.
thump thump. Reaching my lactic acid threshold, I approached a small clearing and then, a slowing of the pace.

thump. Stopping at the fork in the path, I stood, sheltered from the mid-day sun under the canopy of trees.

thump. I rested and listened, my heart beating loudly. The silence screamed, only shattered by the occasional sound of nature. Birds calling to each other; Soft wind whistling through the tree branches; Scotch Broom plants popping in concert with it all.

I feel like I'm in the middle of nowhere, I thought. I've grown up around here, traveled through these park trails thousands of times but never to this spot. For a moment in time I had that satisfied pleasure-tinged-with-insider's-delight that as I rediscovered a new place I always new existed, but never visited.

thump. With my heart rate lowered I reset my watch and stood for my return trip. Once I got home I checked to see if I could find the distance I went, but the trail wasn't even on Google Maps. My route is safe from the spying eyes of the internet.

I shall run there again somtime soon. And when that time comes, and I have my shoes laced up to head out the door if my anyone asks where I'm going running I'll probably say "Nowhere", because it will be true.