I live in a poustinia, a desert. It is my place for being alone and reflecting. I shuffle the pieces of my remembered past and what ever came to me that day. I find patterns that are new. I hear thoughts I never heard before. I see love where it wasn't a moment ago. This is not to say that love shifts but that my ability to see it does.
Some mornings I wake up an atheist; but an atheist with a spiritual path. Some mornings I wake up the most devout of all religious. I shuffle out to the kitchen, sit down with my tea and do exactly the same spiritual path the atheist in me does. My thoughts and feelings waver and shift, but the spiritual path is always laid out for me, no matter my religion for that day.
Yet, I always wake up a runner. There is never a day when I am not a runner. The running never wavers. The most disturbed it ever gets is if some work matter or weather interferes with it. Running is as constant in my life as the spiritual path. For this reason, running cannot be excluded from my spiritual path. Running is integral to who I am. My religion changes, but running never does.
The silence of the runner under a star lit sky, through gently falling snow, around the edge of a pond filled with peepers and croakers, or dancing along the side of a noisy busy road, is no different than the silence of the cloister or the mountain cave.
Easter is within sight. I am taking two days off next week for reflection. The lacing of the shoes and the donning of the cap are my sacramentals. The blue heron and the Kansas meadow lark are my community. The water in my back pack is my communion wine; changed by the liturgy of the run into Life for the world.