Monday, January 10, 2005

And Mother Nature Laughed Back (fiction)

I yawned during my morning gear-check this Saturday, a sure sign that I brought my burdens to bed last night again and didn't get a full night of rest. I should know by now that burdens hog the covers. Now my yawn is yet more baggage for a run preferably traveled light. How dare the stress of my job invade my morning run, the one escape in my life that should be untouchable.

It was the morning before, when my boss had a joke at my expense in front of all my peers, that I had realized that I would sleep in fits and sweats. His razor wit had delivered more than a few close shaves before, but this time, it was swift and deep. I have struggled many times to understand his ill-placed sarcasm at a deeper level, left only with the simple conclusion that it wasn’t deep at all. It was shallow, dry, and direct. Leave no mystery to its aim or target, nor it's underhanded mission to remind everyone who is the Big Swinging Dick.

(Photo for purchase from the amazing Don Charles Lundell)

The yawning made the first few steps of the long run tough, but then again, the first steps are always the toughest. Eager to find a rhythm that can break out of the cold winter air, I often make mincemeat of my warm up. I’ll surge down the driveway, a mind full of deadlines, nested regrets, and honey-do lists fueling a rage that can eat through a hamstring before the first turn. But then I slow again, reminding myself that within the ritual lies relief. Take your time, Scott, find the rhythm and the joy will flow like a mountain spring full of laughter.

Not the singeing laughter of my boss, that is, but the laughter echoing through my soul as the rhythm of the run subsumes me. It is a spontaneous laugh, like a child's - an uncontrollable release that takes on a rhythm of its own. This laugh can’t be controlled, and is not open for suggestion. As long as I’m running, it thrives, and leaves my weekday burdens disappearing behind me on the trails with a thousand footprints. It's so easy it is to escape everything into the wild, one can't help but laugh.

But it doesn’t last forever. Lord knows I have tried. 20 miles, 30 miles, deeper and deeper into the wilderness, going well beyond where I should have turned around, and far beyond what my food and water would dictate. I try to escape, steal that moment of resolve and keep it forever, only to realize again that the moment is not mine to own, but only to visit. Then I understand who is really laughing. It is Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom, chuckling at the insignficance of one man’s day amongst a backdrop a million years old.

You see, she knows what forever is. And that’s why Mother Nature laughs back.

- SD

[This is fiction, btw. My boss, Doug Roberts of Avolent, Inc., is actually very cool. Copyright 2005, all rights reserved.]


  1. Maybe the laughter you heard was the girl passing you.

    :: Jennifer K.

  2. She's not laughing AT you...she's laughing WITH you!

    - Charlie1

  3. Great post, man. I didn't catch the "ficiton" until the very end, and you got me.

  4. Scott - if this is one of your most popular posts, why not more stories like these? I like them more than the interviews and race write-ups.

  5. she may be laughing at you ......

  6. I like them more than the interviews and race write-ups.


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