Off the ground running. Off the ground and in marathon, he didn't know if he would finish. He didn't know if running for a standard gold was enough, if running and running and running, was enough.
He woke and when he woke he ran. He tied shoelaces and met concrete. Concrete said hi. Concrete gave leverage. When he ran he wore shoes and those shoes had double-padded in-soles and one inch or more rubber heels, one inch or more rubber outer soles, one inch or more across a finish line. He ran for the sweat, the heat, through the heat, and on into the eternity of the sun. He ran on weekdays and weekends, he ran on Sundays. He worshiped this way.
When his first toenail was lost in black and blue and pavement hitting strife, he shrugged. He shrugged. Can you believe that? When the wind gave out of him and he had nothing to push with but hot air and the diaphragm, he pushed with those. Sweat flowed and a beauty flowed through him of weeks and months of preparation and work. Working for this like his father, the carpenter. Working for this like his mother, the schoolteacher.
He ran and when he ran he found God. Thoughts and worries and life and relationships fell with beady sweat, the river and they flowed.
Once on state route forty-six I saw him. No one followed him and I've no idea where he went. There were rolled haystacks and cut fields and farmhouses and he kept going. He was mid-west and heading west and may have been going to California.
The weather man says it shouldn't be as hot as it is today. In this day and age, coldness escapes you, it escapes all of us. We will run and run for it. We will horde it someday and he still runs,in fifty percent humidity, in rain and ruin, in life as in death and until death do us part, he runs.
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(for the olympics)