Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Cheering You Up

Start digging around into the origins and meanings of the word "root" and you have to be cheered by what you dig up. I ended up rooting around into its many meanings and uses because I wanted to figure out why I was close to tears Sunday morning, and while I'm not sure I know that any better, I am yet reminded how often words come around and both mean one thing and the very opposite, making me think Freud's essay on the uncanny might actually be the smartest thing he ever wrote. There's the world and the opposite of the world and if you can tell them apart you just aren't living.

But there's also grounding what I'm writing now in something tangible, so some narrative is in order. Sunday intrepid friends TL, the Queen, and Kristin all laid it out on the line and ran in the Disneyland Half Marathon. Amy and I, being sedentary but good friends, went to have the Disney fun day the day prior and to be moral support the day of. Rooters, we were. That which helps ground, even as the branches go do their wild and crazy things.

I wasn't prepared for how the event bloomed, though. It's a huge race--15,000 runners at least--and while we signed up for the tracking of our three friends, it became clear it would have been easy to lose them in the crowd of folks who all thought moving and not stopping for over 2 hours would be a good idea. We headed off to the finish line to see their great moments, but it was hard to get too close, for the Nazi side of Disney kicked in--everything is crowd control, after all, so don't stray off that walk, buster. We managed to find a spot where we could glimpse through trees and somehow closer-to-the-race fans, a kind of grassy knoll from which to watch. And runners came and came and came, some just making it, some taking photos of themselves finishing, many with Mickey or Minnie Ears. One guy who carried the flag the whole way, a somewhat disturbing but truly American mix of macho and patriotism. Another ran dressed as Elvis. Many ran across in little clumps, their hands held together in the air, a wondrous shared victory.

All that effort, all that success. It's mighty powerful, when people do something they set out to do. And I welled up, way before any of the three people I knew and cared about showed up. How could I not? Rooting gives one a place to stand, after all. Connection. Hope for growth. There I was, ex-Catholic boy finding faith on a Sunday morning.

To think this little rumination doesn't even get to the homophone "route," but perhaps I'm on my way to it without knowing, as if one could have a route and no destination.

(21 of 31 in the drive to 2500)

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Blogger Smitty said...

That is the best writeup of a marathon I have had the pleasure of reading. Usually it's "skinny dude sweats across finish line in unbelievable amount of time." But yours was emotive. It was fun.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Queen Whackamole said...

Beautiful, George. Thank you two for being our roots. Glad you found a little faith, too.

Rev. Queen W.

wv: phila

2:18 PM  
Blogger Kristin Anderson said...

Now this is the type of writing, and reflection, that I dream of. Being in the thick of it, I was aware of the subtle wonders all around me, but seeing so many cross the finish line is a beauty all in its own.

I'm glad the beautiful side of human perserverence has been given light in your beautiful write up.

Thank you also for being our spectators. It was very exciting to see my friends when I came through the post race processing center :)

12:51 PM  
Blogger Trekking Left said...

What a nice write-up, George. And much thanks again to you and Amy for being our cheering section.

2:01 PM  

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