I want to make sure that I post about my last run of the year on the last day of the year, so I’ll have to tell you about all of the bad luck that chased us out of Canyon Country and into New Mexico later. We kept getting stuck in weather, stuck on bad roads, stuck in white dirt, and stuck on disappearing trails, so our last run of the year happened on a flat trail that was close to a city, with a paved car kennel. I call that “chickening out,” but Mom called it “learning from our mistakes.”
The trail had cool-looking bubble-shaped rocks piled high on either side, but all of the adventure stayed off the trail, which was wide enough for the Covered Wagon to hike on without adventure. “Mom, there are benches!” I complained. “A daredevil like me can’t finish the year on a trail with benches!”
“Yes, but you’re running, which is something we couldn’t do for a lot of the year. Isn’t that something to be excited about?”
“Big whoop,” I grumbled. “That was the past. You can’t go through life being scared of stuff just because you had six bad experiences in a row.”
As we ran down the boringest trail in Arizona, I kept seeing signs next to little singletrack trails that lead into the bubble-rocks. “What do they say?” I asked.
“They say that the trail that way is rugged and much more challenging than the trail we’re on.”
“I’m rugged and you’re challenging! Let’s go!”
“I just want an easy, calm run. Can’t we have a quiet run for once?” Mom whined.
“Where’s your sense of adventure?” I asked.
“I left it in a snowbank in Utah,” mom grumbled.
But when we’d run 3 miles and turned around, it finally got through Mom’s thick skull as that we still had to run 3 tedious miles back on the Boringest Trail in Arizona. “Okay, fine. Let’s just see where this trail goes,” she said, following one of the trails into the rocks. “But we’re coming back up the first moment I get annoyed.”
For the next 4 miles we climbed over and ran through the bubble-rocks. It was an adventure for all eight of our paws, and a puzzle that used rare muscles all over our bodies. Our eyeballs and brains even got a workout as we found our way through the granite maze. And never once did we find danger.
“This is fun and exciting, but I have no idea what you’re going to tell people about it on Facebook,” Mom said. “Everyone’s going to think it was lame, since we didn’t have any trouble, and they’re going to think we’re losers because we didn’t run the whole way.”
“You have it all wrong, Mom,” I told her. “Humans need a reminder to find the excitement in the things that don’t scare them. Just because something isn’t dangerous doesn’t mean it’s not nifty.”
“Well if you’ve seen it all, then does that mean that we can stop posting to the running groups?” Mom asked. Mom is lazy, and doesn’t like having to come home and be my webmaster after we’ve worked a long day.
“Are you kidding me? Now that I’m a sophisticated man-dog and have seen the mountains and deserts of 9 states, I have more to say than ever,” I told her. “The more you’ve seen, the more there is to notice. The first time you see something, it’s like a photo. But when you see the same things over and over, the differences unroll like a movie.”
“Hunh, I never thought of it that way…” Mom said.
“And anyway, you’re getting old, and I think you need help with that. Just because you’re slower and fatter and have responsibility doesn’t mean that your life isn’t full of fun things. Just look at how you do half of your workouts inside just so you can count them better.”
“Hey, it’s been a rough year…” Mom whined. “My body let me know that I can’t get away with the things I used to do.”
“Exactly! You need a life coach to teach you how to find adventure in the familiar places. Sometimes when the trail of life is so boring it has benches along the way, all you need is your life partner to point out a side trail and say, ‘Let’s see where this goes!’ and everything can be new and exciting again.
Oscar the Life Partner