I would like to be a great athlete. Being a professional baseball player would be nice. Such a summer time game full of smells and sounds, it would be nice to make outrageous sums of money to play a little boys game. Golf would be nice too. Walking around manicured grounds, every hundred yards or so swinging a rod of iron, slicing small chunks out of the earth and getting polite hand claps from the white guys lining the fairways. Running would be fun. I think I would be at complete peace running forever--thinking, breathing, sweating until finally the mind goes blank and all that is left is burning muscles and pain. After awhile even the pain disappears and it is just the unconscious and the sweating body under the sun.
Running conjures up ideas of spirituality in my mind. Ancient warriors running over great planes to battle. Clouds parting with golden pipe organs bellowing rhythms in an inaudible frequency. God, running in the sand, Jesus building sand castles, and me laughing between bites of my cheese and sand sandwich. This is what I think of when I think of real, natural, honest running.
Lately in my training (I am going to run a half marathon in march) I find more pleasure in the shiny lights embedded in the treadmill than I do in the mind/body/soul of running. The treadmills, like every other part of our lives, are now just a convenient place to watch TV. The boob tube. Fascinating how television screens are hooked up to work out equipment now. TV watchers are not just couch potatoes any longer. TV watchers are like oxygen breathing organisms...If they are alive the condition of TV watching is an integral part of life. TV's are everywhere... On cell phones, in hair salons, on my computer screen, floating billions of miles away beyond our solar system, carried aboard voyager. So I run on the treadmill and forget that my legs are moving, that my lungs are burning, that spittle is leaking out of my crusty lips, I forget I am even alive, sucked in to the television. That natural escape is covered up by that all to familiar form of escapeism... The damn TV.
I love that scene in The Two Towers when Aragorn, Legolis, and Gimili are running over the fields of Rohan, closing in on the Orks. How silly would that scene look if the three were running on treadmills out in the middle of a grass field, each staring into a television screen, each with headphones on.