"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Running With ...... Skunks?

If you’ve been a regular to RWH, then you know that I routinely cross paths with wildlife along early morning runs. I have come to expect, and appreciate, these encounters. Over time, a sense of connection and mutual respect has developed. In fact, I have been known to give the runners nod and whisper ‘good morning’ as we pass, (don’t worry C, I have yet to hear them respond back).

So, while running the pre-dawn hours along Meadowlark Rd earlier today, the sight of a large deer crossing from field to woods up ahead in the headlamp light, was not unexpected.  It was just a few miles in and I had my first interaction.  The big buck had glanced for just a moment.  Long enough to catch the glare off the light, and then he bounded off. I kept running.

Over the course of the next mile, I started thinking through a mental checklist of forest animals that I have ‘run’ into (pun intended) out here.  Deer, fox, snake, raccoon, possum, hawk, rab.........., Whoa, what was that? As I ran the edge of the road, facing traffic, I saw two little red eyes glance up and start running a parallel path just 15 feet away.  It looked like the one critter that I have never come up on, but I wanted to be certain.   I shone my light directly at it as I ran by and, sure enough, the white stripe told me it was no stray cat out in the cornfield.  It was most definitely Pepe Le Pew!

Now, here’s the funny part.  The skunk continued to run stride for stride with me.  It never zigged, it never zagged.  It never turned back.  I was heading around a bend and I wouldn’t be able to cross over the road without creating a blind spot for traffic coming up on me.  So I decided to do what came naturally; I stayed calm and I ran FASTER!  Staying on pace did not seem as important when it risked getting sprayed by Pepe.  But the crazy thing kicked it up a gear as well.  It was amazing.  For over 50 yards, it looked like one of those ‘Man vs. Horse’ made for television races.  We stayed in our lanes and just tried to run faster than one another.

Fortunately, the road straightened and I decided to cross over.  There are very cars at this time of the morning, so the risk was low.  He must have thought I gave up when he couldn’t see, because a few yards ahead I looked over and he was gone.  I didn’t slow for a while.  I just kept taking in the morning air and praying that it remained aroma-free.  It did.

And yes, I’ll be back out there soon to see what kind of new fun can be had. Until then, may your runs have this kind of adventure and may your adventures keep their tails down.

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