Is there a part one? I don’t know. I wrote a post like this once before, but I can’t remember what I called it. After I write a post, the story continues. At times, I want to fill in the blanks, write about the outcome. Here are a few on my mind today.
Man-Crush: Remember this? I wrote about best selling author Jamie Ford doing a live Zoom reading and interview to benefit my library. This happened Friday night. I sort of dreaded it. I expected it to be dull even though the last time I heard Jamie speak I all but fell in love. Dreaded it! But no, Friday’s Zoom was as good as the last time.
I think it’s weird that we rely on celebrities to put things into perspective. There’s no reason a historical fiction author should know more about covid-19 then me, but he does. Asked his impressions about the pandemic, he said: This pandemic is a dry-run, a practice session. The next pandemic will be a real disease, a fast spreading hemorrhagic disease. Highly contagious and far more fatal. This was our chance to see how we will perform when that happens. We failed miserably.
Gaia GPS and Dead Woman Hollow: Actually, these two stories are different chapters of the same book—my obsession with running. For the past year, my Saturday mornings all started the same. I slept until eight and then did nothing for three hours. By nothing, I mean I drank coffee and read the news; drank coffee and read blogs; more news; more coffee; and then scrolled through Facebook. Nothing. When I finished doing nothing, I ate lunch. Around one o’clock I motivated myself to start my day—usually by going for a run.
Recently my runs have been on a wooded trail system in a forested area called Dead Woman Hollow. It’s a forty-minute drive from home. After my drive-time and a ninety-minute run, I arrive home at four o’clock. What did you do this weekend, Jeff? Well, I only had time to go for a run.
This weekend, expecting temperatures in the eighties by afternoon, I left home at 7:00 AM. By leaving my house so early, I took the pressure of efficiency off of myself. I had all day. I decided to epic-ize my run. I’m sure that makes it seem like I doubled my distance and took along a picnic lunch, but really what I mean is I ran trails I never saw before. I made my run an adventure.
This spring I began running with the cellphone app Gaia GPS. Before I run, I download a trail map, and then GPS technology puts a dot on my cellphone screen showing me exactly where I am at all times. I can’t describe how freeing this is. I just run. I can’t get lost. I take the turns that feel right, and ultimately when I look at my phone, I can’t plot a route back to my car. Hmmm, that’s a lot of faith in technology, you say. What if your phone dies? I carry a compass. At Dead Woman Hollow, if I head south, I’ll eventually hit a road.
Yesterday, I actually got lost. My tight, eighteen-inch-wide trail suddenly opened up into a sunken dell with dappled sunlight and a bridged stream. I pulled out my phone to take a picture (something I rarely do), and I saw that my phone had no idea where I was. The steady line that marks where I’ve been on the map had turned into a scribble. The forest density didn’t allow the GPS to get a consistent reading on where I was, and my dot jumped around over a couple-acre area. My map-route looked like it was drawn by a pissed-off toddler.
Here’s the awesome part. I didn’t get nervous. I just headed south, across that pretty bridge, and ran until I hit the road. Out of the woods, my GPS worked again. I wound up about a mile west of the parking lot.
Sophie graduated. Just like teenagers all around the world, she slipped from being a high school student to a high school graduate without pomp and without circumstance. We snaked in a line of cars through the high school parking lot, pulled up to a stage, Sophie hopped out and grabbed her diploma, and then we came home for cake. The teachers lined the parking lot with signs and woos and air-high-fives, and the whole thing felt more special than settling into an auditorium for hours of speeches and a diploma parade. After dinner we tuned in to live-streamed valedictorian speeches, and afterwards we browsed an album of senior photos submitted by all the graduates. A relaxing and happy occasion all around. I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes the model for future graduations.
As bloggers, we open a window and offer a glimpse into our lives. Often that’s just a snapshot, a moment in time. No one but me knows what came next. You’re left with a cliff-hanger ending, one that’s never resolved. Thanks for taking a few minutes to catch up with me. I now feel ready to move on to new stories, new narratives. I hope you join me for the ride.