This morning, as I do almost every day after my morning writing, I went for a run. I run because I have been athletic my whole life and it would seem unnatural now to be otherwise, because I would like to stay trim without resorting to an all wheat germ diet, and because I always feel better on the days that I have run than on the days that I have not. And to be alone. I chose my route in part because it follows a course rarely traveled by other people at this time of day. I sweat and grow fatigued alone. No need to make a spectacle of it. I had much to think about during this morning’s run. I had lunch with (among other people) Laura Munson yesterday, and we had talked about memoirs, and inspiring readers and how much that meant to us. But my mind had been very busy since our lunch, and a busy mind is not always a useful mind. A busy mind can question whether you will ever be able to touch even one more person ever again – for where is the proof of what is to come? A busy mind likes proof.
But as I reached the halfway point in my run and started home, I remembered something I had said during that lunch about brass rings. I had been thinking about a merry-go-round I used to ride at the Roger Williams Park Zoo when I was as child, and I saw how this ride would make a perfect metaphor for a blog. Then, as sometimes happens, I began to write the blog in my head as I ran home, the whole thing coming as if already written by someone else, and I began to feel hopeful and connected and happy because I would go home and type up what I had already written.
And as I was near the end of my run, I heard my blog’s last paragraph, its last sentence, and I thought, “Yes. That’s the gift!” And as I thought this, at the very moment the final words came to me, a woman stepped out of a parked car and said,
“You inspire me!”
I looked at her, puzzled, and she mimed running. “Running,” she said. “I should be running.”
“You can!” I said.
Then, in case I had missed the point, as I jogged past a bus stop one block from my house, a teenage boy waiting there called out, “Whoah. Determination!”
Sometimes you speak to the world, and sometimes it speaks to you.
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