Running. With Shodo.

art, painting, illustration, rain, drops, color

5:25 am.  Headline machines spewing darkness: “Curled up on a bloody boat.” (CNN) “A Grim Day for a Small Town. Bodies recovered after blast. (WSJ)  “Raped.  Delhi 5 year old in serious condition.” (BBC News)  This last one too much for me.  I shudder.  Evil.  Mimi describes her contrasting realities this morning.  And I’m in search for a contrast to my mental image reality.  I turn away from the gloom.

5:55 am. 47F.  Drizzling. I’m out the door.  Need a new route.  Need a change.  A new path. I’m determined to run long.  Man looking for accomplishment.  Looking for my body to ache.  The kind of ache deep in your bones.  A soreness that hurts – – the achy hurt – – your body telling you that you pushed it today.  That’s it.

19-year old boy shivering under tarp in the boat. Curled up. Lying is his own blood.  Chopper lights illuminating the darkness.  Is his Mother watching?

flower, bloom, photography,yellow

I run by one yard after another.  All lined with blooming Forsythias.

Shodo Harada guides. “These are all everyday moments. In the midst of our ordinary lives, who knows when or where we will encounter the great radiance of buddha-nature? Sweeping the garden we ask, ‘What is this?’ Eating our food we ask, ‘What is this?’ Prostrating to everything we ask, ‘What is this?’ This is our living, vivid energy. We creatively continue without letting go, and we don’t know what it will be that will bring this great sudden amazement and wonder.”

What is this?  Shodo, I’m running by Forsythia. In full bloom.  Bursting energy.  Signaling that Spring has arrived. Offering light where there is none.  Color blasting against the dark low hanging clouds.  Against the greyish whispy mist.

What is this?  Shodo, this is rain.  Softly falling on my face.  Mixing. Coating my salty lips.

Eerie Stillness at the Center of Frenzied Crime Scene.  (NYT)

What is this?  Shodo, these messages drifting in, in, in my head. I look up.  Big guy can’t be happy at what he’s seeing down here. No sir.  Bad situation.

He’s 19 years old.  A kid.  My Eric is 19 years old.  One is going to college and making his parents proud.  The other is going to college and has gone horribly wrong.

What is this?  Shodo, this is a steep bloody hill.

What is this?  Shodo, I’m running out of gas.

Yesterday.  I’m walking through Grand Central Station.  Eerie calmness at Grand Central.  I cross Madison.  Cross Fifth Avenue.  Cross Avenue of the Americas.  To Time Square.  NYPD on every corner.  Is this what it’s come to?


What is this?  Shodo, how about delivering some of that great sudden amazement and wonder.  I’m not feeling it at this moment.

I run by a garden of daffodils.  (Shodo working his magic.)

What is this?  Shodo, these are daffodils.  Could there be anything more beautiful?

Time Check: 12.02 miles.  1 hour + 54 minutes.

Nap time. (And, then, I need to call Eric and tell him I love him.)

Credits: Image: Lizzy Stewart. Shodo Harada quote: Thank you MakeBelieveBoutique. Forsythia Image:  Swarna Rajan Photography @ flickerDaffodil image.

Related Posts: Running Series


  1. I cried when I read this…..


  2. Oh, David…your running posts normally make me laugh, but this time I just cried. I have a 19-year-old too…and I was thinking some of the same things you’ve been thinking. I looked at my 19-year-old when he came in the door from class yesterday, and really did imagine another 19-year-old… who also has a mother, and who changed so many lives all at once, who was hiding, yes, in his own blood in a boat, scared, destroyed, alone. How could it happen? It’s shocking and sad beyond belief. A 19-year-old with a shattered life, a shattered mother, who shattered so many all at once. It makes me cry.


  3. Your running leaves you exhausted and I am breathless..the salt on my face not from sweat but from tears. The counterpoint of daffodils insistently presenting themselves as we try to absorb some of the darkness that lingers in our minds. Magnificent David. And I’m not talking about the length of your run.


  4. Life, up close. Good and bad. At least you’re feeling it and know you’re alive and are thankful for what you have.


  5. I know and understand. Still lighting candles and saying prayers.



  6. This post is so beautiful, David. You are a compassionate and loving person. Thank you for sharing and for articulating your feelings.


  7. Also, you might want to Google, To Run, A Prayer for Boston by Scott Poole.


  8. Wonderful David.


  9. Very touching. My favorite posts are ones like this where you share your story. Such hope, promise and love…thank you for sharing, David.


  10. This is one of the beautiful reasons that I nominated you for the WP Family award over at This Abundantly Delicious Life ( Thank you for all that you share, David.


  11. Michael Zahaby says:

    You’re always lifting me up. This time you “hit me on the side of the head”. I’m really thinking this through. Thanks for making “mindful”


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