I remember growing up at 23309 Locust Way in Bothell, Washington. We lived on 10 acres with a large trout filled stream that ran right through our property. Every late summer into fall, thousands of salmon would swim up stream and spawn...Chinook (king), Sockeye, Coho and Steelhead. It was mesmerizing and I looked forward to it each year. Our front yard was a very large grass area approximately 1.5 acres, with a holly tree, weeping willow, apple trees, bing cherry and one majestic, towering old fir. The trunk and lower branches were something you see in an old growth forest. You could stand two to three people together on one side and not see them. Behind the the house we had an enormous old glass and brick green house that contained lemon, bird of paradise, cactus of varying types, and other tropical plants all heated by a boiler and old pipes through the winter. There was also a very large old wood shed that had a band driven mill saw. The blade was as tall as I was and although it was scary looking…when my dad and mom weren’t around I would push the large green button on the wall and watch it spin a frightening speed, with the sound of a jet engine. Woods behind us stretched to the other 8 acres. Woods filled with ferns, stinging nettle, huckleberry, horsetail, skunk cabbage, Oregon grape, salal, maple, fir, hemlock and cedar. There were old stumps and logs with moss and mysterious holes that led to a menagerie of what I imagined to be an underground city of all types of animals and mysterious creatures. My imagination ran wild…and I was free to explore and experience it all.
And I ran…
I ran everywhere in those days…I ran to the pond on the other side of our stream where fish would go up the fish ladder to spawn. I ran to the small creek that fed the pond to catch minnows. I ran with our three dogs in the vast front yard. I ran through the woods chasing and being chased by friends, laughing and yelling till the light faded and we would slowly make our way home, making promises for tomorrows adventures.
I ran to build my first fort in those woods…and my second, third and fourth. I ran to the edge of the stream when the spring thaw would hit, and the water would swell its banks threatening to over take the stand of bamboo by its shores. I ran to the top of our 1/4 mile driveway to get the paper for my dad each night as darkness approached. It was a challenge…he would say “go!…I’ll time you”. In the fading light, the fear of the unseen monsters and bogey men would spur me on to run as if I had wings on my feet. Up the drive to large mailbox and back again bursting through the door heaving and panting but with a sense of pride at hearing my new best time. I ran and I watched and listened. I ran and I learned.
I ran because I didn’t want to miss anything. Everything was interesting to me, everything mattered, everything was important. There was so much to take in and the time slipped by so quickly it seemed. There were new fishing holes that needed to be fished, new trails to forge in those woods, new hills to climb and new adventures to be had.
I ran and I enjoyed life and all of His creation…unknowing that He was watching me. Unaware that He loved me then, and had plans for another race I was to run later in life.
That time will always remain treasured in my heart, idyllic, a time capsule of childhood that contains so many stories and experiences that my heart swells every time I think of it. And I am sorry for those, including my own children, who never had that experience growing up. A treasure trove of memories. Running.
Running to keep up with life the bursting around me. Running to catch a glimpse of something new and wondrous. Running to feel the cool breeze on my face and the hope of tomorrow. Running to beat my best time.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.