by Brian D. Meeks
Chapter 34 Day 34
The poet sits upon his rock, the bard is close at hand, the minstrels wander through a field, as morning dew clings to turnshoes. They’ve sung of love and loss and hope, but search for more; a word, a phrase, a chord, to strike a note so pure, that it might carry upon the imagination, as a feather on an eternal wind.
Can words be woven together into a tapestry, that will properly show how it feels to run for 34 days? In short, no. The mere act of writing “unbelievable”, diminishes it into the believable. An observation made, no matter how detailed, is but a pale rendering of the truth.
Steve has reached a place where time stretches beyond the watery horizon, and yet, is so near that it is no greater than the thickness of parchment. He turns it over in his head. It was a thousand years ago, across the lake he calls Mom, when Steve learned of Liz’s passing. Five days before that and only a scant minute ago, Steve sat at a table finishing his breakfast before starting day one, on the hottest May 27th in Chicago history.
He brings his mind back to the one constant, twenty six point two. The day ahead was a mystery. He felt drained from his loss. The road beneath his feet seemed sent from the gods. It was a long, tree lined, beauty with a soft should; exactly what he needed. The branches hover like a protective shroud, keeping the sun and sorrow at bay. Morning passed and soon three o’clock appeared, from nowhere, and asked, “How far?”
It had been seventeen miles, but it could have been yards. Steve headed to the lake for a soak, while Jarred whipped him up a big fat cheeseburger. In this place, (not Michigan) where few have tread, the food tastes better. Or maybe it is just Jarred’s deft touch avec le fromage?
Rested and fed, he took to the trail and later remarked, “We knocked out the last few miles without incident.” That was it. Another day run and Steve sat down to reflect. “It just doesn’t seem possible that tomorrow could be the thirty fifth day of this adventure. There is no sense of time, anymore. To think that if we can hold it together for six more days and be back on Navy Pier, is surreal.” It is something he tries not to let himself think about, much.
Could he do one hundred days, a thousand, a lifetime? He is in a realm that can only be reached by travelling so far beyond his limits that the unthinkable seems within reach, if not ordinary. “I believe anyone of us can accomplish what we want.”
His mind wants to be able to share this place and he tries, “Anytime I need to, I draw on all the people involved in this. I can run with whomever I need. I can run with my Uncle Mike, I can run with Jarred, or the hundreds of people that have sent messages and texts. It is because of things way beyond me that I’m this far. I had to have shade and a nice piece of road. And it was there.”
His shoulders slump, he wants to say more, say it better. He wants pull each and every person who has followed along into this place and show them the possibilities, so that they, too, may see the world through his new eyes.
His tongue runs along the roof of his mouth. It really was a delicious cheeseburger, earlier. Mind and body are well, and the senses divine. He stops fighting it, he gives into to the wordless truth of his place along the path.
Somewhere, enters Theseus, Hippolyta, Philostrate, and Attendants. They are in Athens, at the palace of Theseus. Perhaps Steve may find company among the minstrels, bards and poets. They might understand timeless. Puck would surely know what it is to dream on a summer night, and would tell the tale and keep company until he is but a shadow.
If none of this makes sense, then you’ve begun to know Steve’s place. Does this swirling ramble seem heavy and light? It should, that’s okay. So, go, sleep, and you will find the land where Steve runs. It lies between the last hope for what may come and first light of day.
It is waiting for those who take up the challenge to cast aside their notions of possible. Go ahead, plan and dream, and you’ll start to act. The road is longer than you can imagine and shorter than you think. Soon, you’ll be sitting beside your own lake, looking out at the water, warm and somewhat dazed. It won’t make sense, at first, but you’ll know that you are where you belong. And if you should look up, you may find, there are others, like Steve, waiting for you, waiting to share what they have learned along the way. The numbers who come to this place are few, but all of them are a friendly lot, and you’ll be glad you made the trip.
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