I went for a run in the foothills this morning. It was wonderful.
When I first moved to Boise I had a hard time appreciating the foothills here. I grew up where outdoors meant pine trees towering over your head. Forest so dense you couldn’t see beyond the next turn. The ground was so constantly full of nature’s rain it was soft below your tramping feet and a breath of fresh air smelled of eucalyptus and salt. But we also didn’t have traditional seasons. No snow, no hot summer weather, no colorful fall leaves. The forecast was “65 degrees and partly cloudy” the majority of the days of the year.
A landscape of juniper bushes, dry dusty dirt, and vast views didn’t automatically lure me in when I first moved here. But over the years this land has earned my respect and I’ve developed a certain fondness for being a part of it. Along with the land’s unforgiving terrain, I’ve conquered my fear of trail running and suffered many difficult but rewarding runs among those dry dusty trails. My love of the Boise foothills I can imagine is similar to the rush a race car driver experiences as he accelerates out of a turn. A certain calmness and beauty is felt in my body while I pound away up the mountain, sweaty and short of breath. And then I reach the top; the sun begins to peek over the hills, the sky fills with light, and I look down over the valley and realize that the juniper bushes, weeds, and creek create a beauty of reserved appreciation. This land will love you back only if you first agree to give yourself over to it.
I’ve missed the foothills because I’m usually packing a double stroller these days. Getting out for a two miler on the greenbelt feels like an accomplishment. As part of my New Year’s Resolutions I’m getting back into running and this feels like the first real step. I’m in the process of organizing a weekly trail running group. Women only, no kids. Just some running shoes and a pounding heart.