The Nature of What We Are

Life bores deep holes in us
in hopes the nature of what we are
might sink into us….
—Jim Harrison

There is a truth found in running long miles each morning. There is a realization that comes at the end of the first-half of the run that however tired, however hard the wind blows, however hot or cold I may be, the only way home is to keep running…or to walk.


Pelicans in Flight: Mississippi River, La Crosse, WI


There is an acceptance that occurs in the last mile-and-a-half when the run itself is forgotten and the mind, freed of the struggle of commitment, is washed clean of worry or care. Time is eclipsed in the rhythm of steps laid upon gravel or pavement — in the intake and exhale of breath — in the repetition of doing. I understand in that moment that I am able. I understand no more or no less. I understand only that I am able, and I could go on running forever.

In the rhythm of life, in the rhythm of my breath, I could continue forever. I am able.



It is man’s folly, as it is perhaps a sign of his spiritual aspirations, that he is forever scrutinizing and redefining himself.
—Loren Eiseley

There is truth found in long hikes in the early evening. There is a realization that comes at the end of the day that however stressed, however little I have achieved by my efforts, however tired or discouraged I am, my only choice is to continue.


Hiking in Early June


There is an acceptance that occurs in the last stretch of the hike — as I head down the hill, or cross the river, or trek across the field – and in that moment, the hike is forgotten and my mind, freed of expectation, notices not my inner thoughts but the columbine flowering in the underbrush, sweet peas blossoming at the trail’s edge, dragonflies resting in the grass. Time is eclipsed by the life occurring around me, and I understand that just as winter gives itself to spring and spring to summer, I will continue. I, too, am able.



Harrison, Jim. “Church.” ­Songs of Unreason, 133. Port Townsend: Copper Canyon Press, 2011.

Eiseley, Loren. “Inner Galaxy.” Collected Essays on Evolution, Nature, and the Cosmos, Vol. 1. Ed. William Cronon, 367. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, 2016.

5 thoughts on “The Nature of What We Are

  1. You capture such awesome images of wildlife and plant life. My favorite is the Spring Woods photo. It’s so mesmerizing and peaceful. Your photos and words left me with an inspiring outlook on life: keep living it, as there is so much to experience. Enjoy summer in Minnesota!

    Liked by 1 person

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