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For ten years, I lived just five miles from Montana de Oro State Park along the central coast of California. I was able to run on the trails there two or three times a week. Now I live nearly an hour away, so I don’t get there nearly as often (especially with the price of gas)! But just a couple of days ago I met my son Ethan there for a quick run before he headed off to work. I was grateful to be with him, and to again be in that magnificent place. In addition to being beautiful, I find it humbling as well – in its vastness, it reminds me of my mortality!

Running at Montana de Oro State ParkHere’s a poem I wrote five years ago after a run by the ocean:

Taking Comfort

On the bluffs where I run
the beat of my heart drowns
in waves of sound and sight,
my body moving with the elements.

I am in love with the ocean.
It tells me I am small.
I take comfort in this truth.
In the battered sands of time I disappear.

While others seek fame and fortune,
I seek only to return to the waters
that stretch as far as the eye can see,
to be carried off into some distant sunset
where life on this troubled earth ends
and a new consciousness begins.

I am in love with the ocean.
This should come as no surprise.
The ocean tells me the truth…
that I am the one who will pass away.
I am the one whose life upon this glassy
blue and green sphere is transitory.

Words (c) 2007 Mark Lloyd Richardson
Photo (c) 2010 Dallis Day Richardson