Life does work in mysterious ways. It’s so true.
Just last week I wrote about becoming a professional marathon runner.
Someone who does nothing but run for a living.
I called this post,
Six days later, I leave my home with my running shoes, stopwatch, and heart meter in position.
I have every intention of making this a long run.
The sun is setting.
It’s eighty Fahrenheit. The heavens over Miami Beach are painted vermilion.
I live on an island.
After ten minutes of brisk walking,
My feet feel the sand through my socks and soles.
The saline zephyrs arrange my hair.
I look ahead of me, at the long stretch of sand that continues unobstructed to the very tip of South Beach.
That’s where I’ll be, I think, 3.6 miles away from here, and my legs will get me there and back for a total of 7.2 miles.
I begin to run, full of childish joy.
My head is far from quiet, far from serene. Ideas surface as they wish.
Bulky ideas that carry with them other, secondary ideas.
The truth is, in the beginning, my head is doing more running than my body, but after about ten minutes, with my heart pounding out 170 beats/minute, my head is quiet, and only my body is running.
I pick one knee up.
I strike my toes on the sand and pick the other knee up.
These are my pistons. They can pump forever.
Life Does Work in Mysterious Ways
Ahead of me I see a group of four runners. Three guys, one girl.
I don’t try to pass.
I wait for my natural pace to catch up with them.
As I’m about to leave them behind, the oldest of the four runners speaks to me.
-Eight miles. Eight miles everyday.
I immediately sidle beside him and repeat what he said, but in the form of a question.
-Eight miles- everyday, huh?
-That’s right. We run from 5th Street, up to 47th Street, and then back down to 5th Street. That’s eight miles.
-And you do it everyday?
The old man laughs. I’m having difficulty believing that he runs eight miles everyday. It just seems like a lot. But, then again, the beach is nice, and so is running.
-That over there is the master of the soft sand. He arranges this run.
I follow the old man’s gestures and see another man, not quite as old, in black shorts and socks. His hair is long, black on gray, all over his head and face. He has brown glasses and a band around his right arm, between shoulder and bicep.
The master of the soft sand nods, agreeing with the old man that he arranges this eight-mile run everyday.
-You’re lucky to be running with Raven on the Raven Run. While he’s still with us. You may not know it now, but you’re lucky.
All this Raven talk confuses me, but I’m curious to find out more.
-So, you’re Raven.
-You run eight miles everyday?
-Been doing it for almost 35 years now. Haven’t missed a day. I’ve run 101,800 miles.
The old man chimes in.
-Didn’t I tell ya? You’re talking with the real deal here.
-I guess so.
The three of us laugh at our meeting each other like this. We’re happy as can be.
-You run marathons?
-No, I don’t pay to run in any races.
Raven turns to the soughing Atlantic.
Not at all insulted by the impurity of my question, just happy with his answer.
I notice that he’s not wearing black socks but bandannas tied like sashes around his ankles. The ends are blowing in the wind.
I look at his feet and think about the distance they’ve covered.
More than most cars on the road.
His feet have black wings. Those feet.
He turns to me and speaks, humble and kind, this man with wings on his feet.
-The Raven Run is free. Anyone can run it. It’s not a race. It’s a run.
Life Does Work in Mysterious Ways
Six days after I wrote about becoming a professional marathon runner,
In a post called,
I meet Raven, the purist runner on the planet.
Eight miles everyday for nearly 35 years. Over 100,000 miles and counting.
He is the embodiment of the mantra,
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.
I ran with him.
You could, too.