Afternoons will be measured out
measured out, measured with
coffee spoons and T.S. Eliot
-Afternoons and Coffeespoons" by Crash Test Dummies
These were the words that poured into my ears on that rainy Saturday morning. I was running my fifty-three year old body around the neighborhood, feeling that age and then again not. I know that there are guys my age running marathons. I know there are guys my age sitting on the couch, wishing they could get up and out to do anything that resembled exercise. In my twenties, I used to go out for a run and not come back until I was tired. In my fifties, that's how I start.
There was a time when I ran to keep myself busy. Now I try and find those moments when I am not busy squeeze in a run. There are so many other things to do now. This doesn't take into account how many miles I have put on my joints, including the surgically repaired left knee that didn't keep me from running consecutive ten Bolder Boulder ten kilometer races way back then. I had to move away to leave that behind. I found another race to run in my thirties, but that was never the reason I was training. I was running to prove that I could. One more mile. One more weekend waking up and hitting the road. One more evening when I found an hour to pull on my shorts and shoes.
Because as much as I am immersed in this whimsical notion of entropy, I fight it wherever I can, but I know how severe the effects of gravity alone can be on the bones of those past their prime. I am always pleased when I get to the finish line, when I make it back to my driveway. Nobody had to carry me home. I didn't have to call for a ride back to where I started.
I started running because my father encouraged me. I ran those races with him when he was in his fifties. In my wallet I carry a picture of the two of us crossing the finish line together. One of the last things I did with my father was go for a run when he came to California to visit. Maybe if we would have run back to Colorado together instead of getting in that little airplane, we could have slowed the descent.
I tried to get my son to run with me, but he prefers his solitude. I went with him to the rec center at his college and we ran on the same track, but he wanted to keep his own pace and stride. His dad wasn't going to hook him that easy.
My father built a clock for my wife and I as a wedding present. I have been winding that clock for twenty-three years. It keeps a steady rhythm, but it needs to be wound once a week. With a key. That rainy Saturday morning I opened the door of the Regulator to wind it once again and the key snapped in my hand. I was done with that chore until we could order a new key from Al Gore's Internet. We could keep it running, it would just take a few days for shipping. Meanwhile I hear the ticking and I believe I can hear it winding down. Slowly.
Part of entropy is looking for metaphors to describe it.