Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mama Duck, Ducklings...and Ultrarunning

While on this business trip to Newport News, VA, I posted here yesterday running the Noland Trail.

What a local treasure!  This trail has everything, and is a great Mecca for local trail runners--and business travelers/tourists like me.

One of the points I mentioned in my post was seeing a mama duck and her 8 ducklings.  The babies happily paddled (I know, I'm anthropomorphizing) behind her as she crossed Lake Maury.  I was reminded of a book I once read about a mother and a small son, that contained a quote along the lines of " we went, hand in hand, not knowing where we were going...but you thought that I did."

Seeing the mama duck made me think of my relationship with my kids and grandchildren.  She needs to teach her babies about food and shelter and staying safe.  For my part, at first glance, the knowledge that I can impart to the Mister Tristans of the world (the 3 year old human being, not the blog) is mostly relevant to Ultrarunning.  I can easily pass on and teach him about the techniques, the technologies, the philosophy, the how-to, etc. of the sport.  I feel entirely at ease in doing that--provided he is interested and willing--it's well within my comfort zone.  I only hope he has the interest.

But in the real world, Ultrarunning doesn’t amount to a pinch of crap. Ultrarunning is a way of feeling good about ourselves, to augment our already-OK existence.  What really matters, and what I need to convey to Mister Tristan, is how to be a good man, how treat all living things and the environment with love and respect.  In that sense what I am doing is little different from what the mama duck is doing--giving her offspring the knowledge necessary not only to survive, but to thrive.

I want Mister Tristan to thrive.  That's the reason I am so down on many of our politicians, who seemingly are more interested in reelection than in doing what's right for their descendants. As I always say, have they no children?  No grandchildren?


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