Monday, March 3, 2014

Seven Easy Miles and Scary Apple Trees

On Saturday, it was cold, and I had an ice hockey game to get my son to at 7:30 AM.  Of course, a 7:30 AM game implies being there around 6:30, and it was a 20-25 minute drive to the ice rink at Patterson Park at that time of morning.  So, for my 7 mile run, I left pretty early on Saturday morning.  It was about 4:45.  

The seven miles on Saturday morning took me out to Lake, across to Bellona, down to Northern, across to Springlake, over down to Homeland, across to Charles, down to Cold Spring, up to Roland, up to Northern, back to Charles, up to Melrose, back to Bellona, back to Lake, and home.  While I have become not a big fan of repeating any part of the course, this was necessary near the end to make sure I got home in time to get Daniel to his hockey game on time.  And, as we ended up being the first ones there from his team, I succeeded in that.

The total after Saturday morning's run was 340.5 miles.  That puts me just east of Zanesville, OH, still on US 22/US 40.  Not much to comment on there.  Just approaching the county seat of Muskingum county in Appalachian Ohio.  I'm sure it would be pretty to run it in person.

What caught my attention on Saturday morning?  As I was running on the small section of Northern Parkway between Bellona and Springlake Way, a low hanging branch of a tree caught my hat.  It didn't stay in the tree, but fell to the ground so I was able to quickly turn around and retrieve it.

That made me think about a debate I'd had with some friends on social media back around the new year when Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was on and we were debating the scariest scenes of the original movie with Gene Wilder and other scary movie memories from childhood.  People could not believe that I had such difficulty with the scene from the Wizard of Oz movie with the apple trees.  For some reason I didn't find the flying monkeys unnerving, but I was very much unnerved by trees that could throw apples at me.

That pondering came after attending a concert on Friday night called the saddest music in the world that focused on the melancholy from the late Renaissance.  The music itself was not always melancholy but some of the lyrics were and the poetry that was read between musical pieces was definitely and easily recognizable as melancholy.

That got me thinking about when my life has focused on sadness.  I went through a period of listening to Tears for Fears as a child.  Not just the most popular stuff like Shout and Everybody Wants to Rule the World but their first album that was incredibly dark.  I see it now as typical teenage wallowing, but I focused on what I didn't have rather than on what I did.  The change in focus over time has made a big difference.

Just on Friday morning on a radio program called The Writer's Almanac, I heard an Emily Dickinson poem.  It reminded me of the Emily Dickinson poem I'd quoted at my high school graduation in my speech.  The poem was called My Life Closed Twice Before its Close.  The line I quoted was "Parting is all we know of heaven, And all we need of hell."  I tried to use that to comment on looking ahead.  A little too deep.  A little to serious.  And definitely a bit on the sad and melancholy side.  I made up for it by quoting from the Golden Girls theme song for my college graduation speech.

Finally, it occurred to me while I was at this concert listening to "ancient music" instruments like the lute being played wonderfully, that a person who has a tattoo of a martyr on his leg forever, has a touch of melancholy with him all the time.  Yes, the church now associates the martyr with athletes.  Yes, the point in the martyr's life that the tattoo depicts is before his death.  But it is still not a pretty, happy site.  

So, it was interesting to have a series of reflections between Friday night and Saturday morning on the melancholy.  Was I left melancholy?  No.  I find that being melancholy takes time to think, and between focusing on what I have rather than what I don't (changed from glass half-empty to glass half-full for my outlook on life in general) and how busy I am, I don't have the time to be melancholy at this point.

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