Today's post covers a silly update, and then we get more serious.
OK, this isn't really an update--it's more like a funny story. You may remember from this post that I've recently started running again. It's only been a couple of weeks, and it's been really slow going since I haven't been running in a while. It is the last workday of a long week, and it was 96 degrees and humid at the time I was running, so it would be an understatement to say I was dragging my feet to work up to a run. Today was supposed to be a challenge day for me, when I was to push myself a little bit beyond the intensity I've been doing lately. I certainly found it challenging, fighting the heat and overall exhaustion that was weighing me down. At one point during the run, a man in black shorts ran past me, his back streaming with sweat and muscles glistening in the hot sun...wait, where was I...
He was one of those men who has earned the right to run without a shirt on. There are others on the parkway who really have not earned this right...you know who you are, fellas. I admired him from behind, but only for a very short while because while I was expending every ounce of energy trying to maintain a pathetic jog, he bounded ahead with steady strides. Later in my run, I had turned around and was heading back toward the parking lot. Huffing and puffing and sweating profusely, I was so focused on trying to maintain my pace that I didn't sense the man coming up from behind me (he must have turned around further down the parkway and caught up to me). He passed me and turned his head, smiling brilliantly (and momentarily blinding me) behind his black sunglasses and said to me, "Good work!" and something else about it being a rough day for a run. First of all, I was shocked that a runner would say anything to me, since we typically only give a quick glance and maybe a smile and continue on our way. He actually turned around mid-run and spoke, and I'll admit, I was momentarily distracted by his pulchritude (that's your vocabulary word for the day--look it up). I was still trying to keep up my pathetic excuse for a run, and managed to smile back, but it was all I could do to choke out some words between my gasps for oxygen. And what did I say? Something cute, clever, or witty? A wish of good luck for him on his run? A congratulatory note for beating the odds and keeping his pace? Not quite. I stumbled over my words and somehow said, "It's...too...hot."
Hmmm. Not my best moment. I was able to admire him from behind one last time, but only for a little while, because he was running so well and my legs and lungs were shutting down more and more every second (they sense when I'm nearing the parking lot and get so excited they lose focus). I even said under my breath, "Wait for me!" as the man disappeared around a bend. I had no interest in talking to him (I'm already in a relationship and talking while running doesn't work for me), but admiring anatomy is no different than admiring a lovely work or art, or a beautiful place in nature, right?
OK, OK, enough silliness, I know. I just have to mention this incredible book my friend Madeleine is letting me borrow and one that is so profound my head is exploding with excitement as I read it. It's nothing new (published in 1992) and I think many people have already read it. It's called Ishmael and it's written by Daniel Quinn. I'm only 83 pages in, but I'll share two cool excerpts from my reading today. The gorilla's story about the jellyfish's creation myth is brilliant, but way too long to include here. So two short excerpts must suffice.
"The problem is that man's conquest of the world has itself devastated the world...We've poured our poisons into the world as if it were a bottomless pit--and we go on pouring our poisons into the world. We've gobbled up irreplaceable resources as though they could never run out--and we go on gobbling them up. It's hard to imagine how the world could survive another century of this abuse, but nobody's really doing anything about it. It's a problem our children will have to solve, or their children."
"They've been given an explanation of how things came to be this way, and this stills their alarm. This explanation covers everything, including the deterioration of the ozone layer, the pollution of the oceans, the destruction of the rainforests, and even human extinction. And it satisfies them. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say it pacifies them. They put their shoulders to the wheel during the day, stupefy themselves with drugs or television at night, and try not to think too searchingly about the world they're leaving their children to cope with."