The story is the reaction

My father, wise sage that he is, commented that the Obama inauguration was in equal parts about the man and about the crowd. What his inspirational effect was, and the way he brought record numbers of people out in the cold to witness history. The way people respond to Obama is as much a part of his story as is the actual man.

I feel the same way about the wave of Susan Boyle blog posts, emails, and news commentary sweeping across the media right now. Clearly, Susan Boyle herself is an amazing story. But what strikes me, equally as much, is the way everyone – from the most soft-hearted friend to the most cynical journalist – is impressed, touched, moved to tears by that You Tube video.

It is a good reminder, in a moment so dark in so many ways, of the deep longing we all feel to be surprised by joy. In a time when so many surprises are bleak, when so much bad news seems to come out of the sky, when people let us down more than they inspire us, we all ache for the stunned, standing-ovation kind of amazement that Susan Boyle brought that British audience. I find it heartening to be reminded of this deep streak of optimism in people, of our joint ability and desire to be wowed.

Trust life

Trust life, and it will teach you, in joy and sorrow, all you need to know. – James Baldwin

I will try my best to give thanks for gifts strangely, painfully, beautifully wrapped. – Rebecca Wells

Heavy-hearted today.

Binary world

Christina and I decided today that one way to bifurcate the world is into people who go to water parks and people who don’t. This happened because our huge plans to spend all day tomorrow at an indoor water park in Danvers went off the rails when we realized the place was already booked solid.

But it made me think of other binary distinctions in life. Places where people fall into one camp or another, with little venn overlap. If you have other thoughts, please add in comments!

  • go to water parks or don’t
  • Chekov or Dostoyevsky
  • red wine or white wine
  • mountains or ocean
  • french fries or onion rings
  • vanilla or chocolate
  • morning or evening
  • Coke or Pepsi
  • dogs or no dogs (thanks Bouff!)

Running history

I remember several years ago, when I was deep in my yoga phase, a comment by Lacy: she noted that I had always been a runner and that my commitment to yoga signaled some kind of new comfort with being still. I think there is some truth to that, but when I really think back, I think it’s more that those 4 or 5 years of yoga were an interval in a lifetime of running.

All of which is to say, I spent this morning’s run by the river thinking back over years and years of runs. I also thought of GodMomGloria, whose birthday was yesterday (and remembered 2 years ago, at Whit’s christening, when I opened the door to see her and realized I had forgotten her birthday – we put candles in the brie at the party, but still, I feel terrible!), and who’s celebrating 33 by herself in Prague running a half marathon. Fantastic. I’ve set my Tivo to record Jim who is anchoring WNT tonight, as well.

I started running almost 25 years ago, keeping my Dad company on his Fresh Pond circuits … I have very vivid and happy memories of those early runs, and also recall him panting to me, “Linds, NO MORE questions until we’re done!” as I ran along beside him, yapping like an annoying lap dog. I also started running 10Ks before I was 10, often with Tory McEvoy, who has reentered my life lately in a serendipitous way.

The first time I ran in earnest was at Exeter. I ran cross-country, for one thing, but it was really that long, dark winter of my incredibly sad senior year when I ran, and ran, and ran. All I remember of those short days and long nights are miles and miles of running and Mr. Valhouli. Literally. When it was truly too cold to run in the woods I would go to the cage by the gym and circle the 1/4 mile track over, and over, and over. This morning when the Grateful Dead came on my ipod I was thrust back to those circuits of the cage (weird running music, for sure, but I maintain that Sugar Magnolia is a great love song).

At Princeton I kept running, mostly junior and senior year. I remember getting up at 7am, feeling like the only person awake on campus, and running on the tow path and through the institute for advanced study. I could run 6 miles, have breakfast at Ivy, and still be at a 9am class. This was perhaps when I realized how fully I am a morning person.

In the early BCG years I really discovered the Charles and its various bridges, all of which meted out different mileage opportunities and different vistas. During HBS this was still where I ran, though now from Cambridge and headed into Boston, vs. the other direction. Pam Houston may celebrate the clarity and mind-clearing properties of sunshine on fresh snow (see tabblo about this here) but I think my version is the early morning fog rising off of the Charles, an occasional single or double shell slicing through the water, the sun coming up through the Boston buildings.

Marion, too, has its share of my footprints – the morning of our wedding I remember running out to Converse Point and watching the sun come up over the dark hump of the vineyard, distant on the horizon.

Random musings for a Saturday morning. My hip hurt a bit this morning (odd, have never had pain there) but it eased as I warmed up. Am really thinking about doing the Covered Bridges 1/2 marathon in May. Need to look into that.