Foment

Let’s all get really angry! And then once we are…let’s choose the next man to run the free world!

Let’s all castigate Mitt Romney if we are Democrats. Let’s all vilify Barak Obama if we are Republicans.

How long has the American electorate been exercising this ugly display of universal suffrage?

Do you remember voting for president when you were not full of righteous indignation?

Does righteous indignation bring about rational thought?

Did not our forefathers expect better of us?

If instead of being full of righteous indignation. Perhaps you were full of compassion?

I am full of compassion, you say with righteous indignation, that’s why I vote the way I do!

Uh oh. We do have a real problem on our hands don’t we.

But now we’re getting somewhere right?

The first step is recognizing that we have a problem.

And so.

Over the next few weeks. Before you engage. Or post to Facebook. Take three deep breaths. And think about having the right to vote for the next leader of the free world.

Four Hours Later

Seriously. I didn’t know if I had it in me. Sometimes you just have to face the doubt. And head out the door.

So that’s what I did. I hit the road at 8:50 a.m. with 19 miles to go. It was super sunny, hot, and yucky humid. I headed north. Up Sheridan Rd. To Tower. On to the Green Bay Trail.

Trudge, trudge, trudge.

I felt ok. But not great. Ahh yes. The mental training that goes along with the actual running when you’re preparing for a marathon. That is. Unless your body tells you that you absolutely should not be running today. You run. Even if you don’t feel like it.

My plan is to keep it as simple as possible.  I will head north for 9.5 miles, turn around and come back south for 9.5 miles.

But when I hit Lake Cook Road at about 8.5 miles out. A light bulb lit. Head west. Take a little respite and check out the Botanic Gardens.

What a genius idea! Why not stop and smell the roses? Why not?

Well. If you know my past history. You understand that this used to be a simply unthinkable thing to do. Stop and walk around some gardens in the middle of your long run?  Never!  Running was work to be done. And a training run should not be interrupted with any sort of pleasure.

Happily. I discovered. That I no longer think this way.

And so.

I took my time strolling through the gardens. Appreciating the swans, the lushness, the roses, the calm. I got some water. Looked at the sky. Took in the beauty and the crowds in all my sweaty smelliness. And finally determined it was time to head home.

10 miles to go. Ugh! I was so stiff from my pleasant stroll!  And in the meantime. The season turned from summer to fall.There was now a chill in the air and it started to pour. Which felt great! But I did not.

Trudge, trudge, trudge.

Back on the trail south toward home. A little walking. Some doubts about my slow pace. Considering running vs. walking. Calculating the time it would take to get home walking. Forever!

Trudge. Trudge. Trudge. I keep on running. Feeling just a little bit sorry for poor tired old me.

I follow a guy down the trail for a bunch of miles. That helps. We chat at the water fountain. Turns out. He is feeling way worse than me.

Did I mention it is raining?

Finally I am off the trail and on the road to home. I have covered 17 miles. Thinking I must look like a sorry sight. Thinking, maybe I’ll take the shorter route and only run 18. Thinking I feel like sludge.

Thinking. Thinking. Thinking. Trudge. Trudge. Trudge.

Then.

Crash!

I turn around. There is a women 15 years my senior, splayed out in the middle of the road, her bike tangled beneath her.

Without a thought, I run the half block back. Easily. To help her.

Thank god she is wearing a helmet. Her head took the impact. Thank god for that. Because she would have been totally scraped up otherwise. She is ok. We talk for a bit. Thank god she is ok. She gets back on her bike and is good to go.

Amazing.

I’m back on the road. 2 miles to go for 19. A switch has been flipped.  I’m no longer tired or sore or stiff. My pace is recovered completely. I am energized.

Run. Run. Run.

How did that happen?

The sun is peeking out of the clouds. The rain has stopped without my noticing.

It’s 1 p.m.

I am home.

Gazing at my Gazing Ball

Sometimes when you’re lying in the hammock you see the most amazing things.

I was reading Paul Fussell, otherwise minding my own business, when one, then two, then… a lot of sea gulls starting circling above. We live a bit more than a mile from the lake and so this onslaught of copious gulls was very odd. I often see a scout gull or two way up high, but never before have I seen this many over our house. They were circling and soaring and darting. More and more kept coming from beyond the roof tops. Initially I feared they were on to the Koi in my pond.

But no. They stayed above.

Watching closely now, I began to see the other birds among them. Ah ha! The telltale white wing bars.

Nighthawks!

If you’re lucky, right around now in Chicagoland, at dusk, you can witness their migration south. For 15 minutes I got to watch the gulls and the nighthawks swooping and diving and devouring midair insects. It was quite a show! I’m still not certain how the gulls linked up with the nighthawks though. Any speculations are welcome.

Anyhoo. That was all last night. Tonight. Not so much is going on. So. Instead. I’m just gazing at my gazing ball.

When Life Gives You Lemons. Use Paper Plates.

You know. Some days.

Some days.

You can’t find your phone charger.

The back brakes on your bike are frozen.

The dishwasher is broken.

Some days.

You find the phone charger.

You fix the brakes.

You call the appliance repair man.

He is busy.

Some days. You wash a boat load of dishes.

Some days.

You smile. Because there are paper plates in the pantry.

And you use them.

If Only I Were

I don’t know when it happened in my life. Or when it became a habit. Is it even worth asking?

When was it that my best stopped being good enough?

When you practice sitting meditation. A good portion of it. Is to get in touch with you. The pretty and the ugly. And to accept both. To abide.

Here’s the ugly. I’ve so wanted to be better than my best.

Isn’t that impossible?

So. When was it that I began to tell myself that I wasn’t good enough?

If only I were faster, smarter, taller, thinner.

If only I were better.

But. How can you be better than your best?

How can you constantly approach the day, somehow believing that you should be better than your best?

And so.

I ran 18 miles today. It took me longer than it used too. Back when my best was much better. Back when I didn’t even appreciate how fast I was. Even then, I thought I should be better. Faster.

Today. I know. I did my best. I gave it all I had. And now. I’m going to sit down. And figure out how to appreciate that.