Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What is Possible

The truth is, we don’t know what is possible. Which is why the pushers of envelopes, the stretchers of bodies and minds, the pioneers, the prophets, poets, and weirdoes are so vitally important.

My older sister ran a marathon over the weekend. That is her medal. As I said to my younger sister after, “I’m so impressed by what she just did. I’ll never do that. It’s like watching a trapeze artist, and just admiring someone’s ability to do that.”

I love to see any articulation of passion and dedication and imagination writ out through physicality and labor. Nearly 3,000 runners took off for the BayState Marathon and Half-Marathon at eight o’clock in the morning. Each individual, all their hours of training and days of hoping, all this melted into a river of neon colors, pouring up the street in the sunlight rising up through the canyons of old red-brick mills.

Nothing compares to seeing someone you love do something they love. I am so proud of my sister, for her physical stamina and determination, for being courageous enough to do something she loves on such a scale.

In all things, I am increasingly sure that we should do more of what we each love. It is, truly, the most effective path I can think of for any thing resembling a better world that what we’ve got now.

I think of my sister, running for years on her own because it was right for her. And how, in the end, she is so very much not alone. As much as a marathon is a race and people will lose sleep over seconds, I found the whole day more of a celebration of the running these people all love.

Demographically, I am perfectly primed to be a fan of the singer Josh Ritter, and am particularly enamored of the line in his song Lantern: “So throw away those lamentations / We both know them all too well / If there's a book of jubilations / We'll have to write it for ourselves.”

Writing or running or living or doing anything out of jubilation sounds both unstoppable and possible.

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