Tuesday, October 19, 2010

good day, sunshine

everywhere you go
you always take the weather with you
everywhere you go
you always take the weather
everywhere you go
you always take the weather with you
take the weather
take the weather with you

~jimmy buffett

there's no such thing as "sunny san diego."

it doesn't exist. i know this because i was just there for four days, and the sun showed up not once the entire time.

the overcast was low and dark and oppressive. a light mist fell, off and on, morning, noon and night. trees drooped low and dripped on passers-by.

san diego is, in fact, seattle with palm trees. wet palm trees.

sunny? pfft. don't believe it. don't believe the brochures and the reviews and the tv spots featuring blue skies and blue water and scantily clad, sunshiny people. the reality is all gray, all the time.


on day three in san diego i hauled myself out of bed at o'dark-thirty to do the "run for the warriors," a 5K fundraiser for wounded vets of the iraq and afghanistan wars.

pre-race activities began predawn, made darker still by the falling mist and the fact that there is no sun in san diego. none of which mattered to the participants~~i'm convinced everyone there would've run in a hurricane at midnight if asked.

i haven't run in a timed event in years. it's just not something i care to do, any time of day, let alone at such an uncivilized hour. the last time may have been the bay-to-breakers event in san francisco, circa 1989. that's a 12K course up and down some notorious hills, traversed by tens of thousands of people who are either there to run or to dress in attire appropriate for their most outrageous fetish and fantasy. it's the perfect race for those of us who don't really like running, since the wild array of costumed and festooned and unpantalooned people totally distracts you from the fact that you're running.

a buddy and i, running in this fashion (but not that fashion), finished in just over an hour. getting stuck behind some roller skating nuns and a posse of cowgirls wearing chaps (and little else) added several minutes to our time, if you can imagine such a thing. go ahead, imagine it, i'll wait.

anyhoo, moving right along...

given my physical state this time last year, i'm quite pleased to be running at all. not because i enjoy it, mind you, but because i can.

managing my goals and expectations accordingly, i figured i'd go out at a nice, old-guy post-op pace. nothing too ambitious, just a happy-to-be-here half-hour to cover the 3.1 miles.

i didn't stick to the plan.

when the horn sounded, and the people in front of me started to pull away, i got competitive. not "i want to win this thing" competitive, of course. i mean, i'm not totally delusional. no, it was just a "hey, why are all these people passing me?" kind of competitive.

so, despite my pre-race plan, such as it was, i kicked it up a notch. the rate of people passing me decreased, and i actually caught and passed some people in front of me. that felt good.

i finished in 26 minutes flat. that felt good, too.


the flight back to seattle took off into the clouds, and eventually broke through to sunshine. many of the passengers cringed away from the windows like vampires.

a couple hours later we landed, in darkness.

it was still sunnier than san diego.

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something fishy

well the sun's not so hot in the sky today
and you know i can see summertime slipping on away
slipping on...
a few more geese are gone, a few more leaves turning red
but the grass is as soft as a feather in a feather bed
oh, darling
so i'll be king and you'll be queen
our kingdom's gonna be this little patch of green
won't you lie down with me right now
in this september grass
won't you lie down
september grass...

~james taylor

the cohos are running.

from the pacific through the straits of juan de fuca through puget sound through metro seattle to little north creek~~not two minutes' walk from my office.

at lunchtime, people gather at every bridge to marvel at the fish slowly moving past. gaggles of them form, meander awhile, dissipate, then form up again a while later, a ways further down.

the shocking reds and greens of the cohos' final days are washed out and dull by the time they arrive at this tributary. the fish are battered and spent, and seem barely able to hold their own against the current. it isn't that long ago, a matter of a few weeks, that they possessed the strength to carry them through a long, unforgiving course of obstacles. to arrive here, a place that may have been their destination, or may be a long way from where they intended to go.

the reds and greens in the water are pale reflections of the bright, changing leaves overhead. but the leaves themselves are on a similar arc, and it won't be long before they too fade and fall.

this little drama plays itself out in similar fashion in countless ways and places every year. it's part of nature's genius that we still find it so compelling, no matter how many times we've seen it. and because it's so timeless, so cyclical, it really shouldn't make me sad...but it does.

their time is so short.

time is so short.

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