On the Heels of Nature

Superb weather today for a jog to torch my binge on Chinese New Year goodies before the festivities even begun. It’s the Year of the Snake but I’m snacking like a pen full of pigs.

Since my not-so-recent woes with a bad neck that has rendered me ungymmable, the only retaliation I have against my runaway appetite was cardio laps at the pool or any distance my legs would carry me. On this sun-drenched day, a long-haul jog itched my chicken feet so I decided to take on the running terrain of MacRitchie Reservoir.

Macaque monkeys run wild at their waterside sanctuary and give city dwellers like me the thrill of encountering wildlife.

After I did a photoshoot at the reservoir some months back to test-drive the Casio Exilim ZR200 compact camera, my affection for the oldest reservoir in Singapore was rekindled. The waterside oasis is a less than 15-minutes bus ride from home yet I wasn’t visiting it often enough. Jogging here provides a much needed escape from urbanity and really refreshing.

But the bad thing is, I tend to do more photographing than running. A one-hour jog usually get extended beyond two hours with all that camera breaks to snap anything from scenery to flora and fauna. Then again, the beauty at MacRitchie Reservoir is a welcomed distraction and definitely made the run more interesting!

Say cheese? This fella was shy at first but when it saw my handphone pointing at it to snap pics, it promptly moved towards me through the foliage. I think it wanted to snatch my phone so I backed away. After a few rounds of our back-and-forth tango, it stood there and opened its mouth as if to scold me!

Felt great running so close to a body of water with the dusking sun reflected on ripples of gold.

Awesomeness!

My favourite photo from this evening’s jog. I took a new trail and came across this scene just as the sun was dipping behind a low hill. I was so awed by the beauty before me.

The run led me by the waters and into the dense forest. Light was fast failing and being caught in the forest when it’s dark unnerved me. So I ran faster…

… and continued to stop to take photos. I should be running but this bald tree rooted my feet. All around it, every plant was leafy green but this one stood solemnly naked by itself. “Don’t leaf me alone,” I seem to hear it say. I was all alone on the trail with nary an idea of where I was in the forest too.

My heart was racing. Not from jogging but the panic of still being in the thick of the forest while darkness weighed in. I wanted to backtrack my route of the past 1.5 hours but decided to continue forward. Boy am I glad I did! Fifteen minutes later, I saw the glimmer of electric lights. I’m back to the comforts of organised chaos. In life, some people take a long tme to reach their destinations on foot while others get there faster by cars, but ultimately we get there. The speed is vastly different. So are the rewards.

Sweat drenched and following a road that I had no idea where it leads, I was enchanted by this scene that juxtaposed the light from a street lamp with the ample moon. They seem to be of the same size here, but we know the scale and reach of their illumination differ at a level beyond comparison… Kinda like what small minds see, and what big hearts show.

I got more than just a cardio workout with this jog as I exercised my eyes and spirit at the same time with beautiful encounters of landscapes both external and internal.

Much of the paths I’d trodden were new to me and although I didn’t know where I was most of the time, having only one road ahead of me provided a consolation that while I’m clueless, I’m not totally lost. If only life is just as clear-cut!

Will definitely jog here more often from now on. And leave all image recording devices at home!

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