Happy New Year
The state of the mind of your newsletter writer is not necessarily the state of the world. And in 2021, there was a lot of light amid the shadows
I did my last run of 2021 this afternoon, about 27 minutes starting at 2:02 p.m. After a day of brutal, really brutal winds roaring off the mountains, the air is almost still. But snow is falling now—the light, quiet kind typical of the Front Range but unhappily rare in my native New Hampshire.
Passing newly downed trees atop mangled cyclone fences while running in weather that was, flurries notwithstanding, now perfectly calm reminded me of the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma in Florida sixteen years ago. Then, I saw a huge sign that had been torn off an I-95 overpass and planted itself in the median of a four-lane divided highway in Boca Raton. Today, as I was heading north on the Foothills Parkway Path, I saw a portion of culvert that had somehow been torn out from under the eponymous roadway alongside and thrown straight-on into a fence twenty feet off the path, like a hollow battering ram. Next to this display were a few of those Cat-in-the-Hat colored construction barrels that could only have come from a tunnel construction site at least a half-mile to the west. Now I know why they closed portions of road north of my house yesterday.
Whatever fear there is a “calm before the storm” setting is replaced by a primordial, dreamy kind of dread in the aftermath, at least for me, when my mind starts running rough numbers in the background to remind me how closely I came to experiencing something far worse that whatever I did.
I didn’t even mention the real disaster out here, the Marshall Fire. David Monti, the founder of Race Result Weekly and sort of all-around nice guy, checked in with me this morning and said he’d been in touch with, or verified the whereabouts of, close to two dozen local elite runners, coaches, and others the running community if likely to be aware of. A few of them had to be evacuated from the towns of Superior and Louisville and as of this morning didn’t know if their condos were still standing or not. If you want to donate to the Colorado Fire Response, you can do that here.
At the start if the year I was running on snowy paths with an amazing dog and as healthy as can be. That’s still true, although Rosie elected to stay home today during my mayhem-exploration jaunt.
I hope everyone who reads this, everyone, experiences some kind of peace today and beyond, no matter what it is you think you need to get there. I can’t thank you enough for giving me a slowly expanding project to keep busy with during a lot more down time than I planned on. It takes a certain kind of loyalty to continue subscribing to a newsletter that is almost assured of containing something personally offensive to you or someone you know and care about. On the other hand, I think people accept taht that kind of shit will always play at least a major supporting role in anything I produce.
But I regularly find things to get excited about, and a lot of that is owed to plans to have somehow made for a year that went by in a flash in toto despite including a startling number of individual days that dragged on forever.
Whatever your last run this year was like and whatever the first one of 2022 brings, know that I’m happy it’s something we both like to do (with some stoic exceptions), so that we were able to “find” each other, here or in some other way.