I’ve been running around in circles
pretending to be myself
Why would somebody do this on purpose
When they could do something else?
— the prophet phoebe bridgers
Why would you ever want this to end?
I’m walking on the bird loop in a half-hearted inquiry as to whether I’m still alive after the last round of chemo. Prognosis: Maybe.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it to go out for a stroll when my body isn’t working. Someday I will remember that the answer is always yes.
We’re locked in the icy throes of winter, so it’s sunny and 75, the sort of February day the chamber of commerce doesn’t bother advertising because nobody will believe it.
The bird loop is just a third of a mile, perfect for easy loops of strolling and sightseeing and escaping the insanity. The usual suspects are here.
A cormorant is diving underwater, looking for brunch. Mo times him. Thirty seconds and change each time under. It seems like a lot of work, but I suppose it’s easier than the takeout line at McDonald’s. A heron sits quietly on the far turn, his second day in the same spot. Herons seem to be set in their ways. I like herons.
The Baseball Boys are out. We’re guessing they’re here for spring training. They field grounders in the confident way of someone doing the same routine for 20 years or so. I wonder if it’s safe to park next to them, given that there’s no backstop and they’re throwing 90 mph. I figure it’s OK because guys at this level don’t miss. And then we see the guy screaming like a little girl trying to chase down an errant ball before it hits the creek. I wonder if they autograph your windshield if they smack it?
The Native American artist guy is at the end of the front stretch again. He seems to have taken up residence there, painting and weaving and chatting with women pushing strollers and toting small dogs. It’s a fair swap given that we stole his country.
The walk is a little better today. We wear a mask all the time now, but I look at it as altitude training. And it’s worth it for that whole Don’t Die thing. The numbers are evenly split these days for masked people on the bird loop, I suppose reflecting the mood of the nation. We keep our distance and form little detours when people come too close. What else can you do?
The miles are a welcome respite after a weekend of staring at death. Runners and dogs and motorized bikes and couples and ravens and fishermen, the motley cast of characters who have become my partners in crime over the years. The dream returns; what if? One-third mile loops forever. Hot hamsters. New horizons. What’s the point if you can’t dream?
I’ve been running around in circles pretending to be myself, or at least pretending to be a former self. The joy of a brain on autopilot, the body sweating, the lazy circles of a Chinese satellite so far above that you don’t even know it’s there, the yin and the yang at peace, if only for a few fleeting moments on a sidewalk in a park in a desert oasis.
Why would somebody NOT do this on purpose? See you tomorrow, Baseball Boys.
Long may you circle! There are green beans to sign so onward my friend!
and ryan hall lives just down the road from us these days!