Sunday, March 8, 2009


I ran for four hours yesterday morning, 5:15 - 9:15. I loved that it was almost light at 5:15, but learned later that Daylight Savings Time is starting. So I am plunged back into morning darkness for a few weeks. Alas.

I saw a fox at the top of River Road. It crossed the street in front of me then ran across the ice and into the woods. That ice was about six hours away from melting completely. I think the temperature hit sixty degrees by noon. Also heard, but did not see, a bunch of wild turkeys gobbling half way up Pequot Hill. Later in the evening I heard Garrison Keilor call wild turkeys "tiny-brained" during the News from Lake Woebegone. He called them just a big nervous system on two feet. I guess he's no fan of wild turkeys. But I was happy to hear them. And him.

I had a few giggles at Simon's expense as I trotted along. Friday night he was playing with the dogs and the three of them were getting all worked up: dogs circling each other and Simon jumping into the fray. In his exuberance, Simon tossed Eddie's chew bone way up in the air. It hit the ceiling, the hanging pots and pans, the kitchen table, the chairs and finally smashed onto the tile floor. Crash, bing, clang, boom, smash. You could watch the expression on Simon's face go from delight, to dismay, to horror, to fright as the thing careened around the kitchen. When it crash landed at his feet, he said sort of quietly, just to himself, "Oh. I threw it too high."

You gotta love Simon.

About three hours into the run I pulled out the iPod. My own thoughts are sufficiently entertaining for three hour intervals, and then I need some outside help.

I like listening to podcasts of Speaking of Faith, an NPR program about religion and ideas. Not being particularly religious myself, I admire people who are and I like to hear about them. The program I listened to on this run was called The History of Doubt.

Jennifer Michael Hecht talked about Famous Doubters starting in ancient Greece and Rome and moving up through history into the present day. She said that equating doubt with atheism or agnosticism is a modern concept, that doubt was an integral part of religion in the ancient world. She said that many of the great doubters were actually great thinkers. She said that the idea of the Leap of Faith embraced by modern Christianity (I cannot prove the existence of God, but I believe it anyway) was a stern reaction against doubt, because Christianity was the first major religion to come into being AFTER the idea of doubt had been well documented and accepted. Christianity created the leap of faith to silence the doubters. Older religions like Judaism had incorporated doubt right into the religion and is therefore not nearly so skittish about doubters.

At the end of the program Krista Tippet asked Hecht how she classified herself: agnostic, atheist, believer? Hetcht more or less dismissed the question as limiting. She does not believe in God as creator of the universe, in an afterlife, or in any sort of energy field running through nature. But she does not dismiss those who do. She finds much about religion to be beautiful and worthwhile. She can live with doubt without closing her mind to the possibility of belief.

I like that.

I ordered her book from Amazon as soon as I got home.

About a mile and a half from home I came to a crossroads. Turn right to go home for a few quiet minutes before Brian and the kids return from gymnastics, or turn left to the gym class. I missed my family, so I turned left up the enormous hill to the gym class. No one was expecting me. Brian smiled. Nell gave me a friendly look: like I resembled someone she knew, but could not quite place. And then the smile turned to recognition and lit up her face. She and I watched the boys' class, giggling at Ben's antics, amazed at Simon's (assisted) back handspring.

It was a good run.


  1. Wow. I can't wait until I can run four hours again. I've had a bit of a tough time since my fall marathon - I think midlife hormones are messing with me. I usually run very early like you but decided to wait for the sun. My soul needed it. I was thrilled to be able to run 1 1/2 hours in that gorgeous weather. Maybe four hours again eventually :-)

  2. You will. Take it slow. All in good time....


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