Photo: Anne Lawrence, White Rock Lake, trails and trees submerged, 2021

I gave myself the extended version of the usual Sunday morning pep talk. Today, I’m going to do it! The usual route involves turning around at the mid-point, but today, I’ll try to do the loop instead even though it will add three miles to the total running distance. Today!

There were no fish on the trail to warn me that this was going to be a different run than I expected, but there were plenty of wildlife distractions that slowed me down, starting with a giant green caterpillar right outside my door, then a beautiful blue heron by the first park. I stopped each time, documenting the encounter, then resumed the run, legs pumping, thinking, “wow, this is quite the day!”

Photo: Anne Lawrence, my first friend of the day, 2021

The spillway at White Rock Lake was my first real clue that something was wrong. The steps and waterfall were gone, it was just a slight dip in the roaring rapids, swirling and rushing under the bridge. Fish kept emerging at the corner, flopping onto the concrete bank, then pushing against the current to get back rather than be carried further away with the torrent of water. I continued until after a right turn at a fork all I saw was the lake — not the trail, the bridge, the benches, the trees, all submerged. I turned back and took the other side of the fork, sticking to the higher trail. It was like that the rest of the run, discovering un-passable submerged paths, then crossing grass to run on the road or a bridge.

Photo: Anne Lawrence, White Rock Lake spillway, fish spotting

This was not the day for going all the way around, but it was a day of discovery and wonder. All of the usual places were transformed by water, a few piers were just visible, others I only knew by memory. I extended the run, slightly, more due to my curiosity, setting a new distance record for the summer. It wasn’t the extra three miles I was planning, but now I was only a mile and half from it. Unexpected, but exactly the kind of adventure I needed today, transforming the usual Sunday run into something new.

Writer, researcher, observer