I was a lonely flyspeck on the earth

  • Thursday, December 14, 2017
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Did I ever tell you about the young Zoad,
Who came to two signs at the fork in the road.
One said to Place One, and the other, Place Two.
So the Zoad had to make up his mind what to do.
Well…the Zoad scratched his head, and his chin and his pants, 
And he said to himself, “I’ll be taking a chance...”
(Dr Suess)

I am the archetypal middle aged guy.
I have started to take myself too seriously, something that should not be possible for someone with a shiny head smoothed by the slipstream of life, five toed shoes and Austin Powers glasses. Here I am, weathered like rocks hollowed out by wind and dust over the millennia, with my hard granite dome, a man Matopas. I should be wiser, but I’m only more foolish.
It snowed here on Sunday so I went out in my Vibrams to enjoy the experience. I don’t want to call it a zen run because that is the type of serious middle aged post hippy shit I’m trying to avoid but that is exactly what it was. It was a zen run in the wind and the snow and bursting with the solitude I crave. I was a lonely flyspeck on the earth, shuffling along in my blue Norwegian jacket, the manufacturers label worn off by the friction of a thousand miles, creased like the face of an angry god but still keeping me dry and warm despite this.
It was not a training run at all - which I’ve had precious few of recently. I’m no longer a mileage whore having mellowed and allowed my running to subside into something altogether shorter and more sedate. This was a lekker, maar stadig run with lots of pauses for photography or standing in the stillness and the quiet, alone and waiting for the whisper of the still small voice.
When I left home the snow was fat, the flakes like the falling feathers of winter geese or dead angel kisses against my lips and cheeks before swirling past and dropping to the ground. By the time I got home the air was dry, cold and empty but my heart was full.
Zoad is a word that Dr Suess used deliberately in his poem about the choices we face in our lives and the direction we take. Read it. The root of the word is Greek that indicated a ladder. Running is my ladder, the vehicle of my ascent to a better level of wellbeing and equilibrium. My zoad.
Running is an act of prayer to the great Nkosi who dreamt me when there was only nothingness and formed me fearfully and wonderfully in my mothers womb. My feet crunching over the icy crust with liturgic stamp was the sound of the choir, steady and harmonic, touching heaven and earth, a ladder of hot breath, blood, sinew and blood connecting human and Divine as one. My congregation was the indifferent sheep, blissful in their frozen field, and my sermon was solace.
I’ve failed as I so often do. I don’t want to be serious. I’m not a serious man but this is what happens when I run. I can’t go out and run to simply record my pace, distance and calories burnt. Running is an act of love for me. I can’t help myself.





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