Hill 27 revisited

  • Monday, May 21, 2012
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 I have a friend. 
It's his birthday this week
and he is turning 45, two years younger than me.
It is slowly dawning on me that I am no longer a boy, that
youth lies in my past. There are moments of exception when I manage
to roll away the stone and walk out of the narrowing tomb. These exceptional moments often occur when I run. On Sunday, Jerry and I revisit hill 27. We don't really need an excuse to run on the Downs but we give the run a shape and identity - to search for the lost key. So many times when I run I can see the metaphors for life. Returning to a childish, playful state is a search for the Holy Grail, lost youth. Being young may be lost to me now but I can find kaleidoscopic moments running and searching for things lost or never experienced when life still burns bright with hope and promise. Like life the hills get steeper but the joy of ascent remains, the views and the accomplishment regenerate the spirit at least. Appropriately, we don't find the car key. This is no disaster, they remain out there somewhere in the wilderness, hidden like the Holy Grail. It means that we have a reason to keep searching.

Hill 27

  • Monday, May 14, 2012
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Q: Why did the blonde keep a coat hanger in her back seat?
A: In case she locks the keys in her car.

The back of Jerry's head, a fencepost and The North Downs.
"To infinity and beyond"

I don't want to offend any blondes, I am one. But as Dolly Parton once said, "I don't mind blonde jokes, I know I'm not dumb and neither am I blonde"

This was the run where I lost Jerry's car keys. Talk about a blonde moment, I zipped them into one of my pockets, cleverly choosing the only one with a hole in.

We run 10 miles in late afternoon sunshine. I'm not going to wax too lyrical, suffice to say the greens around us are profuse and vivid, the most beautiful I've ever seen this part of the world. Colour crackles in the air, the stained glass of nature. From across the valley we spot a hill with a path jagging upwards. Almost telepathically we decide to explore it, words are not necessary and we need every spare breath. To me, this becomes hill 27 because that is the name of the path. It deserves a better name, the views from the summit are truly glorious. This is the happiest and the lightest I've felt for a long time, the sense of freedom and the joy literally wells up like an artesian spring within me.

Eventually we return to the car. Life being life, I immediately experience the downside. No keys. The worst thing for me is that they are not my keys but Jerry's. My wife drives down to Jerry's house and then 35 minutes out into the countryside with the spares.

I deflate.

Hill 27

Frog in a blender

  • Saturday, May 12, 2012
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Thursdays run is manic and borders on the hysterical. I decide to run home from work via a long loop. I leave with ribald comments about my legs and comedy feet ringing in my ears. Women! It's raining hard and it's slippier than an ice rink. Running in Vibrams in these conditions is fun and possibly stupid. I'm an introvert and never more so than when I run, I withdraw deep and silent into myself. I meditate on the move, a mobile monk. On this day though I find myself laughing out loud as I windmill through the dripping trees. I resemble something between a novelty circus act and a frog in a blender. I return home soaked, muddy and spiritually complete.

Dust in the wind

  • Friday, May 11, 2012
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I close my eyes, only for a moment, and the moment's gone
All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity
Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind

We are all different. I was sitting in an autism training session this week, on DVD  a young man was talking about his autism. "I've come to regard my condition as a blessing. I have yet to meet a normal person, no one is normal. My condition makes me more interesting" He said.
A day earlier I had read that Caballo Blanco had died of natural causes - heart disease.
Putting it together I thought we are all different. As a friend of mine puts it, we all have our shit, the quirks and foibles that make us interesting, occasionally irritating and sometimes even unlikeable.
Although I never met him I think this was Caballo. He had his shit but he was also something more rare. I think he was a type of modern day prophet. He had a passion and a message that burned inside him. He had an enormous generosity of spirit and a love for people and life. Prophets have always been a bit strange and counter cultural and the message they carry has the potential to alter societies. John the Baptist lived hermit like in the wilderness, ate locusts and wore skins. He had a message. And he died before his time. This is the other trait that often afflicts prophets, they die before we think they should. It almost seems necessary, somehow by dying their message remains fresh and relevant. Think Bob Marley. Think Sid Vicious or Anne Frank. Think Martin Luther King.
They are all more than dust in the wind.
Micah True had a heart for and a love for the Raramuri people of Mexico's Copper Canyon, he was determined to put them on the map and raise their profile worldwide. He died well before he should have. He died, almost as if he parted the veil between this world and the next and just stepped through. He was doing what he loved, running, by a stream in the wilderness. I wish he hadn't but I'm trusting that the principle of untimely death equals immortal message holds true.