22 February 2011

Footprints in the Snow

I've mentioned several times how cool it is to run in the snow in my Vibrams.  The sight of my own (nearly) bare footprints in the snow still makes me smile and feel more deeply alive.  During my last run, I came across two deer (a doe and her fawn).  They were about 1/4 mile ahead of me.  I watched them scamper along the road for a while in front of me before bounding across a snowy field that's part of a wildlife refuge.  Seeing my footprints alongside their hoof marks was really neat.  It made me think a little bit about my relationship to nature and our place as human beings in the world.  My footprints next to theirs reminded me that in some ways I'm their kin, a fellow creature on this earth, but seeing them effortlessly leave the road and leap through the fields made me also remember how different I am from them.  Leaving my shoes behind had drawn me a little closer to them, but there's still a line between me and them that feels almost holy.  I can feel close to nature, but not quite fully a part of it.  As a person of faith, this points to my belief that human beings have a special place on this earth: a little higher than the other creatures, but a little lower than the angels.  We occupy the space between the natural and the supernatural.  We have some knowledge of both, but cannot fully grasp either of them.  I think that's why there was a part of me that was firmly rooted on the road and a part of me that longed to leap out into the field with the deer.  That line between the sacred and the profane, between heaven and earth, became a bit blurry for a moment.  Somehow my footprints in the snow felt both natural and alien.  I sensed I am a part of this world and yet a stranger to it.  I think there's grace in that, and an opportunity to see ourselves as we really are...all in one footprint:


thriceX3 said...

Well-written, sir! Your description of where humans fall in the hierarchy of things provided some great insight. Thanks, B!