Once again, I encountered both the benign cow herd and the testy bull that didn’t let me pass. Upon hearing that growl, and seeing his refusal to move from the path, I climb down the muddy bank, run through a muddy trail next to the river, climb over a random sewer outlet, and back up another muddy bank, slipping a little in the mud. As I pass this dark brown animal that is the size of a small truck, he seems to eat even more loudly, as if laughing at me. But this is a small issue compared to the near perfection of my daily run through the pasture to the outskirts of the small towns. These runs are what running should be.
Once I am off campus and running through the cow pastures, dotted with a faded trail, old cacti, and cows, I feel free. In the distance are the hills, blue and grey in the morning light. After I emerge from the pasture and head up the road, the sun peeks through and the warm rays burn through the fog. A car passes. A cyclist. Sometimes I see another runner or two on Sundays. At the top of the hill, I can see the surrounding countryside of pastures, cornfields. On the side of the road another cow herd grazes, with occasional wandering from one side of the road to another. Calves peek through buses as I pass. The smog of the city is hidden well behind these hills. Alongside the road, I see the familiar Indian paintbrush, black eye susans, and prickly pear. It is nearly unbearably beautiful here.