There is a beautiful place a mile from where I live.  It is a serene, wooded 3.2 mile loop complete with built-in wildlife. It is quiet, safe and free of automobile traffic.   I run and I find peace there. It’s called the Ardsley Cemetery.  Up until New Year’s Day of this year, it was only a cemetery to me.  However, a friend of mine invited me to go for a run, and today I see it differently.  It all started something like this:

(At a New Year’s Eve party)

Friend: “Hey want to run tomorrow?” 

Me: “Sure, where?”

Friend: “The cemetery on Jenkintown Road.”

Me: “Cemetery, really?  Isn’t that creepy?”

Friend: “Not at all, come check it out.”

So, bleary-eyed, I joined him and two others, and surprise: a runner’s oasis.

Though, it did take some time to see it as an oasis.  Initially, I focused on the names and dates on the headstones.  I was uncertain if what we were doing was disrespectful or not.

“Should we be doing this?” 

“Should we be talking?” 

“Should we use a lower voice?” 

Well, now the residents of the cemetery haven’t seemed to mind (although I do have a no cursing rule for myself when we are there. I’m not always successful at following that rule though).

Nearly a year later, the Ardsley Cemetery is a regular route for three friends and me.  We meet at 6:30am, and we set out to the quiet place.  Each of us has very busy, hectic lives, but for 45 minutes, we are sheltered from stress in the pleasant environs of the cemetery.

The grounds aren’t completely occupied by the deceased.  There are woods and paths filled with countless deer, including a large buck that has no fear of us.  He is a majestic fellow, and I fear him slightly.  He appears to be the leader of the herd, and when the herd runs, it is a sight to witness.

In a recent post, I admitted to being morbid.  I’m not sure if running in a cemetery falls in line with that, but I can say this: I am at peace when running there, and I hope its residents are all at peace too.

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