Thursday, September 28, 2006

The smell of rainy leaves permeate the trail this morning. As I go, I try not to think of my wonderful friend Shari too overly much. We used to see the trail together in all of its mid-morning Monday glory as we chittered and chattered and bespoke of His harmonies all around, even in the day of cloud. We also never had anything to prove in our semi-athleticism. If we walked, the talk was worth any slack in output. If we cried over some hardships, we kept hobbling on. Many times, we just giggled; she was the master of word association silliness and spiritual impromptu amusing wisdom. We had fun, more than.

In August, she moved to North Carolina. Her left-behind college son is somewhere here, moving in the dark, perhaps clustering with someone. The memory of her triathlete husband is most likely moving through the minds of some of his closest friends here, who are the most devout and running full-steam ahead. There were tears with them too: tough ironmen competitors losing a cherished friend.

I pass and pray by the opening into Shari's old subdivision where their house stands vacant desperate for a contract. I count the dark wooden bridges, recalled from the day runs, in order to gauge my distance and turnaround point. My pace must be different than everyone else's here -- runners are either ahead of or behind me. There seems to be a huge gap between me and others. I try not to think of that too overly much either.

Shari's e-mails from North Carolina talk about her resolve to "plod on, plod on". It's not easy for her to leave all comfortable familiar markers behind. She doesn't even know the bridges to count there in Winston-Salem. She runs mainly with the dog.

I want to quit and walk like we used to do when we simply felt like it. However, I feel indentured to the phrase I hear in my mind and spirit now: Plod on, plod on. The rain on the leaves agree. I try to chase any other thoughts into the nearby shadows.

Blessings and happiness to you, dear friend.

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