Monday, April 15th, 2013
The feel of your soles hitting the pavement. The roar of the crowds. The pride in pushing your body to do something so extraordinary. You do it for a charity, for a lost one, a loved one–or just for yourself. This is what runners do. This is what marathoners do.
I ran the Boston Marathon in 2008. I did it with two of my best running friends, Katie and Rachel. We were part of a team that trained together for multiple marathons. We ran through ice and snow in the Bronx, through wind and rain in Brooklyn, logging the miles, counting the minutes and checking off the weeks.
I sit here today in shock and heartbreak over the news of two explosions at this iconic event. Reports are still sketchy–many injured, possible packages found… your mind goes to the immediate: terrorism. It’s tax day. It’s Boston. It could easily be domestic. It’s also the world’s most famous running event. So it could be international. Or maybe a gas line exploded. We don’t know. The facts will come.
What is on my mind now are the runners, the spectators, the emergency workers, the reporters, my fellow running friends and anyone else who was, until a few hours ago, enjoying being part of this storied event. On so many levels the Boston Marathon signifies what is good in the world: Persistence, Drive, Kindness, Endurance, Humility, Charity. But right now, it also signifies the bad. Or the potential of badness that exists. I am trying not to jump to conclusions.
Soon I will put on my running shoes and hit the trail. I will think back to that day when I crossed the finish line: elated, exhausted, proud. For all of those who crossed today and for all of those who watched, it will be a different memory. One mired in death and destruction. Even one of the toughest events in the world remains, at this moment, so incredibly fragile.
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Fearless Feisty Mama, Losing a Parent, Milestone Monday, Mom Situations, Must Read
Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
We all know New York is struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. All five boroughs. New Jersey too. But we also all know what a resilient city it is. One only has to remember September 11th.
My niece Rachel visited us when we lived in Brooklyn. During her senior year of high school, she wrote this poem. I was just so impressed by her insight and perception. She was only 14 years old when she came, but the memory held on so vividly.
She is now a freshman in college, studying journalism. I’ve been saving this poem for the right time to post. Figured now is it. Just like Sinatra says, “Come on, Come through, New York, New York, New York.”
The Sole of New York, New York
By Rachel Johnston
The sun shines above the smog,
illuminating life, language, and love
for this city’s bright eyes.
New shoes become old and worn here
within a mere morning of travel.
They’re sore, bruised, dirty,
but singing a Sinatra tune.
They smile as they conquer
miles of concrete, of storefronts,
of Main Street, of Wall Street.
They look to the sky.
Feed us, they say.
They stumble down stairs
that reveal a dark underworld.
Sparks, rats, bustling bodies,
the homeless and the senseless.
They stumble up stairs
that break through to daylight.
Toes scuffed and laces soggy,
the shoes smile still
just now with broken teeth.
This time, they peer down
at tiny taxis and tacky tourists.
They are not afraid of heights;
they are indestructible, unstoppable.
They are on top of the world.
These soles are experienced,
enlightened, musically inclined,
bold, logical, beautiful, free,
native to city life.
Photo of NYC Skyline via Shutterstock
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A Fi Grows in Brooklyn, Fearless Feisty Mama, Moving to Los Angeles