I had to catch myself yesterday. I wanted to cry. At the gym and watching TV on the Stairmaster, I had quickly grown sick of the coverage. A day that had dawned so pure and innocent on the Great Plains was no longer. I didn’t want to see the endless reel of mutilations. I didn’t want to hear the overly emotive speculation of announcers.I shut it off and just climbed and climbed.
I was not trying to escape the harsh realities of life. I was just trying to make sense of it. We watch the TV in the hope that something will turn out differently. Maybe it is a dream or not as bad as we thought? Sorry. The script just doesn’t change.
We had started the day in Salina, Kansas. We had 450 miles to go on our cross country trek to Denver and we decided on Sunday to get a room for the night and watch the Masters. Monday the time zone was in our favor but we still opted to get an early start.
Early morning on the prairie can play tricks on your eyes and your mind. The sheer beauty of looking 100 miles away is something I hope you all will experience some day. Denver was expecting snow but here it was clear and spring like. That happens out here. You can see fronts as if the sky was a weather map. You watch weather change before your eyes.
We saw a Conga Line of lights off in the distance. Hard to tell if it was a convoy of semis or UFO’s. It turned out to be a work train for the Union Pacific and there were a dozen mechanized wonders that were replacing railroad ties. Not a few but hundreds at a time. Quietly but steadily going about their business. Spring cleaning.
I thought to myself. “I wonder what Mother Nature has up her sleeve today?” The beauty of the East Coast is watching the sun come up. The West is watching it go down. I just revel in both sides. As that big orange lollipop jumps up you wonder what the day will bring. If you love life you can’t predict doom. Things have to be good.
In retro I wonder about all those people that were pounding the pavement in Boston on Patriot’s Day. They had trained endlessly for this, The Boston Marathon. It wasn’t a race as much as a cult experience. Known worldwide, it didn’t get any better. Check your gear one last time and get ready to go.
Whether they are 10K’s, marathons, or triathlons these things are anonymous. That’s the cool part of it. Sure you start with a friend or workmate but miles start to separate people and new friendships are born. Runners reach out to help and to be helped. There are the pros and then there are the ordinary Joes and Janes. Those are the ones who come in around 4 hours and 09 minutes.
Those are the ones that draw the crowds. The elites are home and showered. You struggle and wheeze up Heartbreak Hill and know that somewhere ahead is family. Your quads scream and blisters have now taken a turn for the worse but there are two things that drive you. One is your inner reservoir and the other is the sheer joy of your gang sharing the triumph with you.
And then some bastard stole all that. For whatever God forsaken reason he had chosen in his or her sick mind that this was to be the cause celebre. Their way of shouting protest. Of gaining notoriety. Of showing how far off the rails our world has gotten.
So many times we look from afar and say thank you God it wasn’t me. I can’t. Kathy and I met just a few short blocks from Copley Square. She lived on Newberry Street. Dating on an Ensign’s salary wasn’t glamorous and we often just walked right by the Pru or Hotel Lenox. Right by the Finish Line. There was simplicity and innocence. No more.
The young man that was slaughtered by a savage could have been my Jack or Aiden or Anders. He would have been smiling and cheering. Ready to hug me and I him. I would have to carry his broken lifeless body. I can’t imagine the devastation his father feels.
I know there will be more Auroras, Bostons and Sandy Hooks.There will be more useless tragedy. We will keep on. We will survive somehow. It’s the new normal. And yet I wonder, Where Have All the Flower’s Gone? Gone to graveyards every one. When wil we ever learn?
Ted The Great
Three people were killed and over 180 injured. One of the dead Martin Richard was 8 years old. His sister Jane who is 6, lost her leg. His mom has suffered severe head trauma and is in critical condition after surgery. Enough said.