November Update –
Mile 16. I thought, clearly, “Man, I have ten more miles to go . . . .” and then focused on the ground in front of me. I’d hit the point where music was helpful, playing Foucault’s album Ghost Repeater, a set of tunes with some upbeat tempos and some softer, mellower, slower tunes. Walk the ups, I thought, pace it well, keep your focus. Ten miles? That’s three sets of three miles, plus one. There’s elevation coming into play, too – first I drop down about 800 feet, then go back up again. And the rocks poking out amongst the bright-yellow big leaf maple leaves, trying to catch a toe, cause a fall – watch for ‘em. Patience and focus, endorphins masking pain. It was all there in that moment last Saturday as I attempted my first actual marathon. I’ve been running since I was a teenager, on and off throughout my life and this was something for years I swore off. I wondered why would anyone want to do this? Why would they want to trash their body this way? What was the point?
Answer? The mental game – watching of thoughts and noting of pain; feelings sometimes dark and at others amazed and elated. Yeah, it was a long long run – the longest yet – ultimately taking six hours, twelve minutes and fifty-eight seconds. Answer? To understand what it’s like to do that for that long. What it’s like for other runners who do this? What’s the point, really, but then again, what’s the point of anything?
Today is my mother’s birthday – November 5, 1927. She would be 92. She died at age 75 in 2002, following heart surgery. You see, she had rheumatic fever as a child growing up in Butte, Montana back in the day before penicillin was around. When you get strep throat now, you take some penicillin – it knocks it out and prevents the potential complications from the bacterial infection that can damage your rheumatic tissues – in your joints and also in your heart – the valves to be specific. She was sick for a year as a kid – home from school, and in bed most of the time as the family tells it. She had three heart surgeries in her life, too. I was around for two of them. She was optimistic about the last one – telling me she felt as if she would be getting a new heart. She survived the surgery, but didn’t survive a few days later as her frail body of 75 years just couldn’t recover from the onslaught that a major surgery entails. I miss her still.
My father’s dementia progresses now and recently I was given several cases of old film canisters. Inside each was a gift of Super-8 film, developed and just waiting to be converted to a digital format. I was also given a projector, but instead of risking damage to the film I sent it out to have the conversion done. I’ve been watching the first disc the past few nights – from 1955 up to 1963 where I am able to see my parent’s wedding, the funeral of my grandfather, the many trips that they took and family from Montana interspersed throughout. What a treat to see them so young and full of life at that time – and in love. They truly loved each other then. My father in graduate school, my mom working as a nurse. There was a joy to the way she lived her life and a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kind of way, too. She was the youngest of four and lived the longest of any of them. Yeah, I really do miss her.
Upcoming are “fall” things – playing music for a friend who is reading from his about-to-be published book, chaperoning a 4th grade field trip to watch spawning salmon, and heading up to Seattle to help and honor my father and stepmother’s 50th wedding anniversary, too. Yeah, a lot but a good lot. Until next time . . .
Update November 5, 2019