Civil Disobedience and Love.
Posted on May 05 2009
Just as promised, a new post. I feel like there are many things in my head I need to write out but I don’t really know where to start. As always they pretty much all have to do with running.
Running, what can I say about it? It’s amazing any time of year, the winter provides rain and that crisp feeling when you glide over the freshly fallen leaves, in spring all the beautiful flowers wake up and bathe you in a warm sensation as the sun starts to peek out of the clouds for summer. In summer everything is a bit brighter, drier, and harder; the mud turns into hard dirt, the cool drops of rain become warm rays of sunlight, and the mud stuck in every crevice of your running shoes turns to dust. In summer the days are just a bit longer, but unlike every other sport, longer days don’t mean that we can run more. Au contraire, it just means we have to wait longer for the sun to go down, the moon to rise, the civilized world to go to sleep, and for us to lace up our running shoes in the middle of the night.
After running up Priya’s today, Amrit said “Priya’s doesn’t feel special anymore, you don’t get that feeling of accomplishment when you reach the top” after pondering this thought I came to realize that Amrit was right. Running Priya’s during the day isn’t really amazing, the first time I ran it wasn’t amazing. It wasn’t love at first run, but when the lights go off, now that’s a whole different story. You start at the bottom of the hill, dreading the pain that we are about to experience for .18 miles of torture. You start off strong, pushing up the first couple meters and start to get your momentum going. Your legs feel good as go over the first crest but they are immediately defeated after you take a quick look up and see the endeavor that lays ahead. For a few moments you feel destroyed by the hill, like she’s going to punish you, your mind scrambles to make sense of all of this pain but then your heart steps in. Your heart tells your legs that they have to be strong, it tells them that they have to push, and they listen. They start moving faster, and faster, and faster until they feel like they are going to explode. Sweat pours down your face as you keep pushing the pace up the hill. Soon the pain is so much that it all vanishes, the world seems to slow down and you can’t feel anything. You’re a part of something bigger now, something bigger than all of us. Something we refuse to associate ourselves with even though it is our mother. Mother Nature is what I’m talking about. We are nothing more than animals, we all have our urges, we all need water, food, and shelter, and yet we seem to dismiss these urges and classify them as something less than us. These urges are perfectly natural and we need to embrace them. The urge to run is one of our primeval impulses and running in the middle of the night when no one is around brings us one stride closer to our distant relatives that lived naturally like all humans should.
As you cross that ugly bench you can see the famed Lum Tree and you tell yourself that you’re almost there. You muster all the energy you have left in your legs and you exhaust it all in one final sprint to the finish. As you tiredly tag the tree you turn around to see why the hell you ran up the hill. The whole city is below you and illuminated. For once you are above society, the grips of equality can’t bring you down, you have much more than anyone in society will ever have. Sure they have a warm bed, maybe a love to sleep with, or just a roof over their heads, but how does that compare to the most beautiful view in the world, amazing and complete silence, and the starry night sky as the only thing above you. Who needs electricity when the moon gives you all the light you could ever ask for, or a heater when the dirt is still warm from heat of the day. Nothing is more amazing, nothing in the whole wide world can bring you higher than Priya’s. Sure there are longer trails and high hills to run, but for us few boys that share one love, nothing will ever beat Priya’s.
This brings me to my next point: love. What is love? Well that’s the same as asking “Why are we alive?” sure you could give some idiotic answer like “because our parents had sex” but that doesn’t really do the question justice and nor does any explanation for love. Love is indescribable and the lucky few who have experienced are the only ones who know how exactly how it feels. Love isn’t limited to people, objects, or even activities. One can love life itself, and hopefully all humans do, as life is a precious thing and it cannot be wasted doing things that do not make one truly happy.
Now I’m going to be a bit more personal. I’m sorry Lum, I don’t want to make you cry or make you feel sad, but this has to be addressed. I was planning on just talking to you man to man on one of our long runs this summer, but I know that when I start talking I’ll just sound sappy and useless, so here goes. I know you loved her, I know she loved you. I don’t know exactly what happened at the end, but I do know exactly how you feel. The term “heart-broken” isn’t a cliche. Only those who have never loved call it a cliche, it is actually a perfect description of the feeling that’s left after love has passed away. That deep hole you can feel in your chest, the seeming absence of a heart, of happiness, of life even. It’s all true, when love escapes you, you die a little bit inside. You press your hand to your heart and seems like it has stopped beating, like it has nothing to beat for. It feels like it’s incurable and only the sweet love that was once yours can bring it back to health. Many times I have told people that I still love the one girl I have ever loved, and they all tell me the same thing; “You don’t love her, you just love the memory of her”, at first I thought they were right and I thought that I could move on, so I tried, and I failed. You can’t forget love, love is so hard to come by that it never goes away. I know that in my heart I’ll always have a place for her, even if it’s just the thought of her or getting a glimpse of her on some odd day, I’ll know that she’ll always be in my heart. Moving on is useless if the past is the only place where you are truly happy. Are you just going to forget XC because it’s over? No, because the only way you can live in XC now is through memories of the past, and the same is with any love. I know times seem dark now, like every day is just torture for you and your heart, but when you feel that pain deep in your chest, just thrown on those old running shoes and run back into the arms of your old love. Let her hold you, and kiss you, and tell you everything is okay. Let her solve all your problems as you run deeper into the night, forgetting all the pain, and remembering all the joy. You’re alive and that’s plenty to be happy about. One day we’re going to die, it’s inevitable, I used to cry myself to sleep some nights, thinking of the end of time, but I’ve come to realize that it is only the end of time if we make it so. Don’t just go through your life, doing what you are told to do. Live you life and don’t let anyone bring you down. If you feel down, lace up your running shoes, and go up.
Things will get better, I promise. Just promise me one run in the middle of the night, even if it’s not with me, just go, and free yourself. Don’t try to move on if you’re not happy moving on. It may seem like one love has left you, but the love of running will never leave you, no matter how much you neglect it, and eventually when you least expect it, you’ll feel that love, that urge, that impulse to run. You’ll put on those short shorts, lace up your shoes, and your heart will beat once again.
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”