[Mostly written during my Thanksgiving vacation.]

night run

That first step toward where I've been, away from yesterday, and the burning of flesh and spirit--the renewal and reward of a self-igniting, self-actualizing phoenix--into a dimly lit future. This limitless night holds for me what it does for everyone willing to brave the darkness--the potential, the actual, the desire and drive--and with it an uncertainty that dances in the periphery, illusory yet attractive as Soma and a bed. Bundled and ear-budded, ready for the work, unprepared for the effort, I descend stairs with Brand New Eyes, ready to hear the world for what it is, desiring, on several levels, escape from moments and from impending immediacy and from whatever comes after "next." So I begin to run.

Wondering where I'm going and knowing just as quickly--but also where I would go if my legs had the strength to carry me and my lungs the capacity for forever. Texas, out of habit, comes before I complete the thought, and my entire Life streams through my consciousness--reliving my decisions, affirming my mistakes, re-coming to terms with it all. And just as fast as the lone star was born, providing guidance for a boy lost at sea--or, rather, a boy building his raft while drowning--its brightness peaks in super nova, and I round the corner east--toward Virginia, toward what is/n't.

Inhale the stale night; exhale a burden. Nothing about me goes untouched--each breath a notice from my lips to fingertips that it's worth it to live and to live as such: desiring, achieving, experiencing the end result of that gloriously finite second when the nerve endings in my face send sensations racing toward my consciousness and their reception heralded with a not-so-common-man's fanfare. Bio-chemically no different from the touch of a leaf to my shin, this sensation could not be more different--more intimate, more fulfilling, seemingly more immediate. It's the culmination of my achievements, both concrete and personal, manifest as clear and vivid a reality as Descartes could ever hope for. In the moment, I affirm what is right with me and the world and look momentarily into the indefatigable soul of Benevolence.

Sprinting. I hadn't noticed until now. Nor realized that I had long ago stopped thinking about running. One ear bud down, I ease up, away from a maybe and think of Gump's mindless journey with disdain. Then: To California. To inspiration and a font of genuine happiness. To a fellow traveler who, at times, allows me to nap through it all and, at other times, insists that I drive. To brotherhood (if it means anything). To value. And as quickly as the thought comes it merges with another, and the wind carries me toward Chicago--anything but my kind of town--toward an expatriate past and an evolutionary future--more awe-inspiring than anything I could have fictionalized. "Look what they have accomplished," I whisper in silence. "And think of everything they will conquer." It's a smile, that whisper, but it's not directed merely at them...

An owl asks and my pulse responds, "Me, me." Directed at the accomplishments of last Tuesday--or Wednesday or Friday or Sunday--and at the life-tasks I will check-as-done after tonight. At the magnitude of what has happened in my life because of my realization that it could and because I demanded of myself the strength to do it. At the validity of the process. At the seemingly impossible made inevitable. At satisfaction and contentment. At risk and reward. At the means, ends, journey, and result. At everything that's beautiful about running toward life instead of away from death.

And that's where I finish--apropos: with a sense of achievement. The final steps must have been painful, but I honestly don't remember them as such--only as worthy of having been taken. The last step toward where I might someday be, toward tomorrow, and the burning of flesh and spirit.

"We were born for this."

Yes, Hayley, we were.

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