There was a time when I was alone
Nowhere to go and no place to call home
My only friend was the man in the moon
And even sometimes he would go away, too
I’ve always been the black sheep of the family, marching to the beat of my own drum, never coloring between the lines….all the clichés that describe that person who refuses to conform to fit in. Even now, my family doesn’t quite get me. There’s always the passive aggressive guilt-trips that they try to put on me about how I live my life. I suspect that’s the same with many people. It used to bother me a lot, but now, it bothers me a little. And while I’ve always felt like a little bit of an outcast, I figured that I was just unique in my way of thinking. But, I’m not.
Then one night, as I closed my eyes
I saw a shadow flying high
He came to me with the sweetest smile
Told me he wanted to talk for awhile
He said, “Peter Pan, that’s what they call me
I promise that you’ll never be lonely, ”
and ever since that day
I am a lost boy from Neverland
And then I found them. I remember when I started running how I fell in love with the running community. The community and camaraderie was different from anything I have ever experienced before. Finally, people who understood my drive and got my need for chasing big dreams. And then I started trail running. That was when I found my tribe and I started calling it so. My tribe.
Some may argue, but I find that there is a distinct difference between trail and road runners. I can’t place my finger on it and I certainly don’t think one is better than the other. They’re just different, like the Sioux and the Pawnee. And through my experience, I have found that trail runners connect on a deeper more spiritual level. I don’t know if it’s the constant exposure to nature where you are forced to pause and take in the beauty or what, but I find trail runners to be more spiritual in general and more in tune with nature and the great outdoors. Again, not that road runners aren’t, they are – but in a different way. Nevertheless, I found my tribe within an amazing community and it’s a place where I feel at home.
The sport of running is not about us against each other, but more about about us against ourselves. It’s about us against the world as we band together to overcome challenges that most shy away from. And those who have never found the courage to mentally and physically push themselves beyond what was once impossible will never understand the capabilities of the human body and spirit. They will never experience the glory of realizing that they are more than what they are now. But we do.
We understand the discipline and dedication it takes to do what we do. We understand the sacrifices that need to be made in order to go beyond the boundaries that we once set for ourselves. We understand physical pain we endure to the point where physical pain is nothing but a whisper within our bodies that says “yes, we are alive.” We understand the mental anguish that comes when we are disappointed with a run, but we know that it’s just part of the game. We understand that this thing called running heals us. Heals our broken hearts, our broken spirits, and gives us hope when we sometimes retreat into the darkness within us. It makes us stronger. Stronger than most. We see the world differently as we no longer see life’s obstacles and challenges as something that stops us in our tracks. We see them as challenges that we need to overcome…that we will overcome.
I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we’re bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
“Run, run, lost boy, ” they say to me
Away from all of reality
Week after week when I’m out there on the trails like Peter Pan in Neverland, I am reminded how blessed I am to have found a tribe that gets it. There are no judgments, no negativity, no room for fakery. There’s a purity and innocence in what we do. We are like Peter Pan’s lost boys running through the woods jumping through mud puddles and flying over fallen down gnarly trees. We splash through the ice colds streams and climb the tallest mountains, rock after rock, root after root.
And we laugh.
And we smile.
And we are happy.
And we have found family in each other and a place where we belong.
And we are our tribe.
He sprinkled me in pixie dust and told me to believe
Believe in him and believe in me
Together we will fly away in a cloud of green
To your beautiful destiny
As we soared above the town that never loved me
I realized I finally had a family
Soon enough we reached Neverland
Peacefully my feet hit the sand
And ever since that day…
Lyrics from “Lost Boy” by Ruth B