Running. With America.

childe-hassam-art-american-flag-july-4th

Words cut.
And she held the knife.
I HATE AMERICA.”
Yes, in CAPS.

5:30 am. July 4th, 2015.
The Wolf Pack was settled in the car and heading down I-95 S.
Six lanes, devoid of traffic.
Eerie. A post-apocalyptic moment on I-95. Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.” Gray skies, light rain spitting on windshield. No Ash.

I HATE AMERICA.
“She” is Anonymous on the inter-tunnel. She repeats IT over and over, in Caps, a vitriolic cadence wrapped around each of America’s stated ills.

We’re two miles in at Mianus River Park.The terrain is hilly.  I’m a roller coaster, with slow climbs up, and gravity pushing faster and faster downward.  No. You are a Burro.  A Burro carrying an oversized load with its belly dragging. You strain with each step. Your breathlessness, is a suffering inhale-exhale far less refined than the hee-haw of the Burro.  Sad eyes drooping, staring down at hooves tiptoeing around rocks, roots and ruts.

I HATE AMERICA.
I read the post on Friday. The words still fresh, blood spilled.  Words coming from an American, mid-20s.  A Woman.

We’re three miles in.
I run up hills, and step-walk / walk down hills.
It’s a Barry Sanders training regimen. He’s zig-zagging down the gridiron, avoiding one  pursuer after another.  And you, Burro, Et Tu, Brutus? 

I HATE AMERICA.
Cool electric current flows, a river. It feeds your wifi, uninterrupted. And feeds your air conditioning, keeping the heat and humidity away.  You are sipping your cool Dr. Pepper. Your foot is tapping to your free subscription on Spotify which loops Chance the Rapper, Drake, Snoop Dog and maybe Eminem.  Your laptop sits on your lap. You push out your 40 posts a day, on your free Tumblr blog.

We’re four miles in. Deep in the woods and away from all park traffic.  We’re trotting down a gentle, sloping hill.  It’s a trap. I lose my focus.  My right toe catches the top of a root, and I tumble. I brace for the landing with my left hand, catch my left knee on the root, and fall heavily on the stones. Just like a Navy Seal, or just like a seal or more like a baying walrus. Arr! Arr! Arr!

I’m laying on my back, catching my breath. Staring up. Blue sky, and tall deciduous trees. It’s been two months since my last trail run.  Tomorrow Sir, you will pay.

The Wolf Pack circles back for their Pack Leader, who appears incapacitated.  Zeke starts with my forehead, licking the sweat and moves to my cheeks. Adorable.  Then he moves to my mouth, and we French Kiss. I push him away: “Get OFF me. I’m not Dead.” I get up slowly and take inventory.  “If a tree falls in the forest, and no one hears it, does it make a sound?”

I HATE AMERICA.
You sit replying to other like-minded followers. Your stomach growls and your mind drifts to Dinner. Take-out or dine-out?  You decide to dine out. You make reservations on your smart phone.  You drive on paved highways and move about freely. And safely.  You pick your Church. You pick your sexual preference.  You read at home or at a Public Library.  You drink clean water. You have health care. A safety net, while not rimmed with gold leaf, is there to catch you.

We’re 5.5 miles in, 1/4 of a mile to the finish. A hill with a steep grade.  I leash up the dogs, who are panting now, grateful for the walk to the car.

~30 years ago, I held my smooth, plastic Green Card in both hands – this Canadian, adopted by America. Yesterday, July 4th, four words came to mind – Gratitude and…

I LOVE AMERICA.

Time Check: 5.75 miles.  66 minutes.

Nap Time.


Notes:

Comments

  1. Love this, DK, the tone, the cadence, the observations. While I’m an advocate of free speech, I have to admit I bristle when I see or hear someone disparaging our country. Are we perfect? Not even close. But this country is us, it’s what we make of it, and I think we’ve gotten a lot right. When I see pronouncements such as this young woman’s, my *very* first thought is, “What have YOU done to change that which upsets you?” I love to travel, and have been blessed to go all over the world, but I’m always happy to come home. I’m an American, warts and all, and very proud of it….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this too. The road is always more scenic when you’re driving.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As my father would say, “The kids today do not realize how good they have it”.
    I’ll add: Today, we are seeing the results of government schools, media with little accountability and parents who were more concerned about themselves than their children. All these add up to a very bad combination, which you describe so nicely. PS, hope the bruises are healing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I had no idea you are a Canadian adopted by America. What made you leave Canada? Was it work? ❤
    Diana xo

    Like

  5. Sure America is not perfect, but it is good when we pull together as Americans to solve problems. Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This Canadian now American citizen **gets** this post so much! Thank you, MJ

    Liked by 1 person

  7. and we are happy to have you, america is all the better for it –

    Liked by 1 person

  8. WOW!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love Zeke’s first aid, very effective. And your writing, very enjoyable. A fellow adoptee hopes to see many more running posts this summer ~

    Liked by 1 person

  10. We have great countries, both Canada and the US, and we should feel proud and very lucky to live here.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. So well done DK. I read it twice to let it all sink in.
    Thought provoking as I sit and enjoy the American long weekend. Much, so much, to be grateful for.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wonderful writing, David…it made me feel like crying, a little bit. There is always something to be grateful for, and in America, we have it so easy compared to so many other places. I would guess that the young woman you mentioned probably does not really hate America, but hates herself…and either way, it is sad. I must admit that I wish we who live in this wonderful country could be more…could do more. The prejudice and racism and greed which are still so apparent are such a disappointment to me. In a country as great as this, why can’t we be smarter? We should be.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. And I so love the fact that we can say that we hate America; sometimes I totally agree (as I watch the Donald speak like an imbecile and still attract voters). What I like is that we can still say it, scream it, blog it, sing it, dance it, believe it.
    Sometimes I hate America, too.
    But sometimes I don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I understand. And, every country has its Donalds. As someone looking from the outside in, there is so much good here. And as you state, just having the ability to say whatever you want (to a point), is a blessing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Like

  14. With age comes perspective. Hopefully, when this young woman is on her back like a turtle, with a worried dog urging her back up and a long view through the summer canopy, her heart will have opened a bit.

    Like

  15. Thank you for this. It made me choke up a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

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