“There’s a kind of luck that’s not much more than being in the right place at the right time, a kind of inspiration that’s not much more than doing the right thing in the right way, and both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment.”


Running the Tar Heel Ten Miler was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever done in my life, and I don’t say that lightly. There has been much beauty, much to warp my heart sweetly, but that – that was something else. The first six miles felt like levitation. The golden morning light enflamed hundreds of runners in front of me. It felt so communal… one big mass of moving feet and bright color carrying bodies down South Road, up Country Club, down Franklin and back again.

The last four miles felt like bleeding, felt like saying goodbye to someone you still love. It was painful, yeah, and heavy too, but right and strong and full of relief. The last four miles were the shavasana of a yoga class – a time to let the hard work set in and lean into whatever comes next. And the last mile: goddamn. The last mile. The tenth mile let me be someone else entirely. Nothing inside of me believed I would finish.

I hope that will be the theme of the next year – not defying expectations, but refusing expectations. Maybe losing my belief in God was leading to this: losing my belief in anything. Allowing the world to carry me through any door with my eyes closed and to open them when I’m inside. Maybe.

(But there are other most-beautifuls, too: the smoke curling up from L’s cigarette sitting on the railing, the piercing gold coming over the Wade hill under the Oberlin bridge, the world blushing in green, the brightest, brightest green. So many others that I can’t begin to name.)

That’s what I crave more than anything: to be moved, to be knocked over by the experience, the rich taste of being alive among the living. A big mass of moving feet and bright color. It’s been such a ridiculous year. This time last year I was planning my route from North Carolina to Avant Gardens. This time last year I’d never milked a goat, never lived among rattlesnakes and never met my niece. I had never stood at the edge of the Grand Canyon! That’s crazy! So whatever this year was, there was that. And there were all the tinier but equally meaningful canyons I found myself at the edge of without intention. Without expectation.

“Give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment.”

This is what I will carry with me this year.

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