Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A new april run followed by a memorial, a requiem.

Sunday at 6h40am I chugged a final dark coffee and crunched the gravel driveway towards the beach for a sixteen miler. a beautiful start to april while predawn-dark and cool and quiet, homes unlit and dogwood blooms pale but open and white in minimum light. Sunless flat trees began to fill out in form and I passed two folks walking dogs and smiling and the second mile ticks off as I run slowly and casually across market street, an impossibility any other time of the week, with barely a car north or south of my chuk-chuk-chuk of pace.
Gator trail has drained from my body, the recovery swift and impressive, but my footfalls remain flattened, unenergized, and I dread roadruns after such a carpeted trail run.  But my saddle gait is passed and my jaw muscles do not ache and I contemplate eagerly the next long run.  the umstead 100 passes this weekend (people are still finishing as I turn on Cardinal), with all the legs milling it out across eight loops of 12.5 miles and the bareballed guts of that distance, with the men and women driving forward from fourteen to thirty hours straight with headlamps and mudcaked legs and I am interested perhaps for next year, but I also know I don't want to ruin a longer running-life with one run of 100 miles; some never fully recover from such a thing. My skateboard and soccer knees may reject that distance, protesting quickly and finally, but the idea of a 100 miler is enticing and burns the mind a bit like a longshot high-yield bet.
A slight breeze cools me as I run the cross-city trail down Eastwood to veer out Rogersville past barking dogs and early porch lights.  Time-caught churchgoers push me deeper down the road's shoulder.  Up Wrightsville I watch a congregation gather outside the Presbyterian church, I admire the red jackets and decorated hats on the gregarious ladies, study the starched dark suits hanging from the thin, coat-hanger shoulders of an elderly man smiling to a man of thick build and big voice.
Debate mulls and fades to back of mind.  I mentally mask a canvas for the next layer of image-application and I make a mental note to do so. I remember a poem I wrote about a tree in California.  Quiet overcomes the Umsteads, the paintings and their secret images, the lifegoals, folds up the language-rambles and the clips of aesthetic-concerned essays.  Airlie horses watch me pass from perfect rolling landscapes of viridian greens, king oaks, grey spanish moss, red barns of white framing beneath the fresh sun.  Monet-moments pause by the Intracoastal Waterway with the crystalline reflections across mist-muted colors, the dry hiss of sea grasses. The ocean spills like tiny cups from a green-glass stillness, and the gratitude rises like prayer as I turn left at Mercer's pier, looking forward to being home with my wife and child.

This is a moment to remember the father and son who were killed Sunday morning.  Trey Doolittle and his father Ronald David Doolittle II were triathletes pedaling out a training ride as they cycled River Road at 9h30am.  Behind them a fast car swerved wildly, running across grass and shoulder and 17 year old Trey and next his father.  The father was pronounced dead at the scene and Trey sustained injuries that he would not recover from, succumbing about 24 hours later.
The man had cocaine, an open container, and was intoxicated.  Personally the accident unleashes an anger, a rage so bleak and stark, so confusing.  A man of 63 years of age, on a binge, crushed to death two healthy, beautiful people. The brutal irony is overwhelming.
My wife's best friend was killed when she was struck by a vehicle, riding her bike home from Manhattan to Brooklyn, and this terrible thing thrusts the associated pain right back to her being.  Today I will run with thoughts of them, sending a white-light love to those who are also victims of this driver as they lose a friend, a partner, a brother, a father, an inspiration.

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