Sweet Baby James

“10 miles behind me and 10,000 to go” (from “Sweet Baby James,” song of the running hour)

It is truly days like today that one can appreciate the nature on this planet. The day began heavily fogged, with the evergreens just mirages in the distance. By the time I took my break on campus, to run, the sun was out, though the clouds were still trying to penetrate. It was the PERFECT autumn morning. Though British Columbia is known for its cedars, pines, and firs, there are a lot of oak trees on campus. So there are colors and leaves all over. Students I passed even commented on the beauty of the day. By the time I hit mid-run, away from the actual campus, the sun was fully out, draping itself over the otherwise magical, magical day: the blackberries which bears sometimes find even here, the little Guichon Creek that runs nearby, the crisp chill flirting with late summer reminders of warmth. I couldn’t believe my luck to have experienced such a wonderful scene in my workout.

While running I was thinking of email conversations I have had lately with JL Morin, author of the upcoming Nature’s Confession. She sent me a review copy of her book (which will be published in January), and we will have an interview shortly. But we’ve also been keeping in touch because an excerpt of the novel won honorable mention at our climate change short story contest. She is always thanking me for the work I do to promote environmental themes in the arts and literature, and I always think it’s not me–it is people like her, the authors, who need to be thanked. This acknowledgment has gone far today, however. It made my run that much better.

Considering I’ve encountered oddly competitive, self-serving people in trying to promote such a lofty ambition as the promotion environmental themes in literature and the arts, I have found that it is the JL Morins of the world who count, who truly engage, who run right along with you.

I mentioned in the first post of this blog that I did the 10K Vancouver Sun Run a couple years ago. My husband and I made the mistake of veering too far over to the left, which like driving lanes, I guess, is for the faster runners. Though everyone, slow or fast, was all over the trails and paths that day, so it didn’t seem to matter. However, a competitive runner came up from behind us, and said quite rudely, “Slow people on the right! Make room for the fast people on the left!” The disgust in her voice was unreal. We wondered why she could not veer literally one foot to the right or left of us and just go around us. Keep in mind that this was a community-oriented run, and she was too far behind the rest of the crowd to be competitively running. The community that morning was also feeling emotionally tied to the fact that Boston Marathon bombing had just happened just a week prior, and I think everyone else, or at least the majority, were friendly and felt a sense of solidarity. The runners that year wore blue and yellow ribbons in honor of the Boston Marathon.

Seems no matter the good you try to do, however, you will run into self-serving people trying to barge their way through, ignoring the total need for working well with others to maintain a peaceful, respectful, community-minded experience that makes marathons successful as well as makes fixing the planet possible. Trust me in that I have run across the former, but luckily the JL Morins far outnumber them, and this, to me, helps so much when working to preserve ecosystems found at micro- or macro-levels.

Anyway, that was just the “deep thought of the day”, how it really is the positive folks that make things happen, make them beautiful, make them real.

10 miles behind me, 10,000 more to go. One step at a time.

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