As I ran along the dirt fire road I spooked numerous deer and had to slow down to let a turkey get out of the way. The hills were green with spring growth and the oak trees glowed with the new leaf growth that one only sees this time of year. Below me, the reservoir sparkled in the morning sun. It felt like I was a million miles away from civilization.
Of course, if I listened closely I could hear the subway train pass by down at the bottom of an adjacent valley. If I looked to the distance I could see houses on the hills and in the valleys. I was actually surrounded by millions of people in the San Francisco area. I couldn't help but smile thinking about how close I was to so many people yet feeling so far away.
I also couldn't help but thank the foresighted individuals who decided long ago to set aside land for the public. We often celebrate the Wilderness Areas and National Parks but I think we forget about the smaller parks that allow so many people to get a glimpse of nature. I think of parks like Point Defiance, Cougar Mountain Regional Park, Forest Park, or the East Bay Regional Park System and think about how important these little blocks of forests can rejuvenate and inspire millions of people. Not everyone can spend time in deep wilderness but almost anyone is close enough to enjoy a walk through the woods and feel refreshed.
Thanks to those foresighted individuals for allowing me the opportunity to clear my head in a time of stress.