Friday, October 14, 2011

Jane...and Ultrarunning

I could almost write the following para in my sleep:

As usual, the Writer's Almanac doesn't disappoint.  This is a free daily email with a literary bent (did I mention that it's FREE?).  I'm going out on a limb here, but the fact that you are reading Mister Tristan (the blog, not the 3-year old human being) tells me that there is indeed a literary bone in your body.

From 9 Oct, a post about the fate that awaits many of us, even though we are young and healthy and Ultrarunners, for Christ's sake!  And I know--in a sentence that I also could write in my sleep--that when many of you see poetry you can't hit that DELETE key fast enough.

But read it anyway, OK?

Jane, the old woman across the street,
is lugging big black trash bags to the curb.
It's snowing hard, and the bags are turning white,
gradually disappearing in the storm.

Jane is getting ready to put her house on the market
and move into a home of some sort. A facility.
She's just too old to keep the place going anymore,
and as we chat about this on the sidewalk
I'm thinking, I'm so glad this isn't going to happen to me.

It seems like a terrible fate, to drag out your trash bags
and then head for a facility somewhere.
And all the worse to be old in a facility. But then,
that's the whole reason you go there in the first place.

But the great thing about being me, I'm thinking,
as I continue my morning walk around the block,
is that I'm not going to a facility of any sort.

That's for other people. I intend to go on
pretty much as I always have, enjoying life,
taking my morning walk, then coffee
and the newspaper, music and a good book.
Europe vaguely in the summers.
Then another year just like this one, on and on,
ad infinitum.

Why change this? I have no intention of doing so.
What Jane is doing—growing old,
taking out her ominous black trash bags
to vanish terribly in the snow, getting ready
for someone to drive her to the facility—

that may be her idea of the future (which I totally respect),
but it certainly isn't mine.

"Jane" by George Bilgere.

Oh, and the connection to Ultrarunning.  None of us, repeat, NONE OF US, gets out of here alive.  All we can do is to forestall obsolescence somewhat, and there nothing better than Ultrarunning to help with that.

But notice how I used the word "forestall."  Not cancel, not eliminate.  I'm still gonna die, as will you. 

The question is, will what you did in your life fill you with memories and satisfaction when it's time for assisted living or nursing home care, as in Jane's example above?

Ultrarunning lets me answer, "YES."


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