I need two things daily, probably just as much as I need food and water: creating something (even if it’s small) and being outdoors (even in the rain or cold). It’s amazing how much my day is impacted if I don’t get those two things in some capacity.
Once the weather hits 40*, I try to head to the trail at sunrise, for a mid-day break, or at the end of the day to unwind with a run. The nicest thing about the Chester Valley Trail’s completion is that my favorite trail paralleling the CVT is pretty much always deserted now (with the exception of the one lone older man who literally cheers me on as I wheeze up the hill). I like to think that’s because people prefer a paved trail and that it’s not that they’re avoiding the weirdo in the woods wearing this little number:
(Best. Gift. Ever.)
“I think I have a fairy godmother,” I announced one night recently when Chris walked in the door.
He glanced up from the mail. “Uh. What?”
“Yeah. A fairy godmother. On the trail.” A fairy trailmother. Naturally.
He raised one eyebrow, bemused.
I go on to tell him that I’m finding presents at the trailhead, right where I start my runs and that I’m pretty certain someone is leaving these treasures for me. “Today it was a pallet! It’s HUGE. And beautiful.”
He stared at me, choosing his words carefully. “What’s it like being in your head?”
Chris and I have lots of common bonds, but we are polar opposites in many ways, from our looks to our personalities. He has rugged, dark features; I get asked if I’m from Sweden. He is level-headed; I’m emotional. He’s logical, and I’m…not.
A vivid imagination is good while writing a novel, but when your daily life is mostly spent in solidarity as you work, that imagination probably needs to be redirected. Otherwise I start thinking that people dumping trash by the “No Dumping: $1,000 fine” sign are gifts from a trail fairy.
The pallet wasn’t the first gift on the trail. A few weeks ago, I was running through the woods, listening to my soundtrack station on Pandora. (When training for a marathon a few years back, I discovered that the theme from “Rudy” was the only thing that would get me through mile 21.) I usually choose heavier music these days while running, but somedays, you just need to hear something by James Horner or another composer.
So as the chords swelled to “Red Sorrow” by Audiomachine (most epic song EVER), the trees part and the sun shines down on a beautiful, old, slightly rusted-in-all-the-right-places fire pit dumped in the middle of a cluster of thorns. Fate.
I looked around. I’d only need to carry it a mile back to the trailhead. And I’m in the woods, so it’s not like a lot of people are watching me as I’m wearing my cray cray shirt and lugging a 40-pound chunk of iron back to my truck. And it’s 7 a.m., so most people are still asleep or getting ready for work.
The run had to wait. Pretending I was part of the CrossFit club, I lifted my prize, alternating arms as they fatigued. My heart rate was up because of pure joy, and I was completely unaware of the blood lines racing down my legs from the thorns. I could care less. I found treasure.
I picked out a black walnut slab for the smaller fire pit base (this based was reclaimed by means other than my fairy trailmother):
…and a huge (8″ deep and 4′ wide) slab for the larger fire pit base (from the trail). This one takes three people to move it:
Each slab is sanded down and sealed. These can be used indoors or outdoors. The base is securely fastened to the slab.
Yeah. I have a fairy trailmother. And she’s AWESOME. (Or whoever is dumping all of this stuff, thank you. I’d say keep it coming, but the township may not appreciate that…)