Friday, June 22, 2012

My First 5K!

Last night, June 21, I accomplished a new "first": I completed my first 5K race!

The race-- the Oregon Road Runner's Club Summer Solstice Sundowner-- was a 5K run/walk on the Clackamas Community College campus. We began with part of a lap on the college track followed by two circuits of the campus-lapping jogging trail and ending with a sidewalk jog into the finishing gate. The weather was perfect: sunny and about 70 degrees. One of my English department colleagues joined me for the event, which made it even more fun.

Thanks to my right knee, which has no cartilage remaining (making me a radiological candidate for a total knee replacement per my orthopedist-- a procedure I intend to avoid for a good long time!), I couldn't run the course, but I walked briskly for the entire length. I took an hour and finished low on the list of times as most of the participants jogged or ran. But I wasn't last, and I had fun! Mostly I was just proud of myself for accomplishing my first road race-- I even had a real race number: 113.

And what a way to celebrate the summer solstice, which had rolled by on June 20 at 4:09 pm. Summer is a time of burgeoning growth, new plans and activities, and seeing hard work come to fruition. Since October 5, 2011, my family has been taking part in "Scott's Year of Fitness Challenge," named for my son, Scott. (Long story; more on this another time....) We've all been working hard since, and for me, this race tied these efforts, my improved fitness, and the solstice together in one neat bundle. Plus, it showed me that I can still meet a challenge, head-on, and succeed. I needed that. Happy summer, all!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Farewell, Mr. Bradbury....

Ray Bradbury has died…. This means something to me.

When I was a grade schooler and well on the road to a lifetime of science geekdom, Bradbury gave me a view into worlds I wouldn’t otherwise have even known or perhaps wouldn’t have seen so clearly. His work was simple clear, and precise and yet richly layered and textural, and he had an understanding of the human psyche that spilled over into his prose. And his works, his unique way of seeing…. Along with fellow rule-breakers Asimov and Matheson and Heinlein, Bradbury seemed to refuse categorization, transcending the bounds between fiction, horror, dystopia, fantasy, and sci-fi, his works underpinned with social commentary. It opened the universe to this young reader, and I’ve never put him down. I’ve walked with Bradbury through a future when people no longer walked and were arrested for doing so. I’ve watched him burn books; traveled to a tall, golden-eyed Mars; wished my bedroom wall would dissolve into the veldt; sipped dandelion wine; felt soft rains; polished the fruit at the bottom of the bowl; longed for a rocket ship to land in the back yard; and recognized that something wicked might come this way, the man with spiders in his fists and darkness in his heart.

Bradbury stretched out my world and made it deliciously terrifying. He gave me that first sense, that first awareness that all was most definitely not as it seemed and that what lurked and wriggled under the surface was the most fascinating of all…. It was a loss of innocence, and I was never the same. Thank you, Ray. I’m going to read some of your stories today. I’m not ready to join you on the carousel yet, though. Some day….