Friday, July 29, 2011


At fifteen, after spending two years away from malta, I travelled back to spend two glorious summer months. I ofcourse expected everyone to remain as I had left them. I kept them alive in my memory--in a state of suspended animation--waiting for me. And Lo and Behold everyone changed. I felt so peripheral at that instant when I realized that everyone changed. But from this experience I learned a valuable lesson that life goes on regardless.

It was also a portal that I passed through that helped me growing up. Loosing the egocentric view of the world on the way.

Now, nearly forty years later, although I intellectually always know that the rest of the world is changing while I myself change, it hits me when I experience dissonance in how I preserved events in my memory.

Change. Today while I was running I got thinking about this again. Old girlfriends with new boyfriends. My children struggling with life without me. Friends back in San Diego and New Mexico moving on with their lives. People dying (no births yet).

My running route starts in Princes Park which adjoins the cemetery. Running past solid granite tombstones is exhilarating. I feel and look very much alive. I pump my chest and run a bit faster than my normal pace. The biting wind, deep into my lungs. Existential morphine. Then I settle down and I start thinking what the future holds.

Eventually I know I have to confront my death. But it is the messy bit in between that frightens me. However much I attempt to bring some lucidity to explore this stage of decline, I always react strongly against it. Perhaps there is nothing I can do when that happens--a stroke, a heart attack--all I can do is delay it by staying fit.

I am always intrigued by runners. They come in all shapes and sizes and running gaits. Runners here do not acknowledge each other. In San Diego I have to stop my wheezing to attempt a "Hi". Here there is no salutation. Which is strange because most Australians are cordial. But they must take running seriously. But it allows me to ignore everything around me and concentrate on my thoughts.

Last week at the north side of the park I ran across the main thoroughfare joined the Royal Park circuit. A much larger park, circumventing the zoo. A beautiful park that ends at the Royal Children's Hospital. And then back again at Princess Park. I was getting tired, but the sun was shining. Close to Ormond College, home and a hot shower.

I realize that I have not come to any conclusion on change. The only thing that I can do is to stay healthy. Then I start coming close to the cemetery again. I pump my chest and run a bit faster than my normal pace. The biting wind, deep into my lungs. Existential morphine. I look ahead. Passing Ormond College on my right, and I go round the park again. Halfway round, the thought enters my head that one option I have not entertained is that I might give myself a heart attack running.

Faster and Faster.

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