Bryon Powell looks into nothing and finds something.

By on August 2, 2017 | 4 comments


Nothing is a funny thing. Is it merely nothing at all, or solely nothing at all? Can it be the cancellation of massive opposites or must it be the absence of either? Is it barely there or infinitely vast? I don’t know… nothing.

At the moment, I feel as though I have nothing to write. Perhaps, it’s the dogs days of summer. Perhaps, it’s months of endless travel. Perhaps, it’s just a lull in life.

In a way, uncertainty can feel like nothing. At the moment, I feel like I’ve got an oversized portion of uncertainty. That uncertainty isn’t inherently negative. Indeed, I feel like a number of amazing options have opened in my life. They’re big and exciting. They’re also weighty and involved. Being neck deep in details for the time being, I have neither the time nor the energy to assess these options. So, for now, I do nothing.

Then, there’s the fact that nothing’s happening with my running. If I was injured or taking a break or recovering after a big adventure, well, that would be something. Instead, I’m running every day, but just a little. I don’t yet have a firm enough focus to recommit to training. It is no coincidence that my column has recently diverged from being running-centric.

All this nothing gives me something to look forward to… anything but nothing. And, ah, there is something out there. In the void, my passions glow brighter than usual. I am a moth drawn toward these lights.

Indeed, this past weekend, wilderness-enabled nothingness found on two trail runs in Bears Ears National Monument sparked a whole lot of something. It was the lack of people, the lack of contact, the lack of pressures and constraints, and so much more… less that carved out cavities of head space. Sometimes, I thought of splendid nothing. At others, my mind boiled over with adventures, pursuits, and ideals worth furthering. A stoking wind blew across my flames spending a spray of sparks upward… and that’s really something.

[Click on the photos below to enlarge]

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.