At 8 a.m. on Thursday I met my friend P, whom I hadn't seen for 22 years since I moved out of Colorado, atop Davidson Mesa in Louisville, a bedroom community for Boulder. Tiny Louisville has been ranked for years by Money Magazine as one of the top two or three places in which to live in the country.
When I called up P to say I was coming out west and would like to visit with him, I was delighted to hear that he had taken up running a few years back as he approached the half-century mark, to stay in shape. Now he loves it, running five miles three times a week. He ran the Boulder Bolder 10K last year and intends to run it every year from now on.
I immediately set up a running date with him, for my last day out west. I looked forward to it all trip.
We ran six miles at a 9:37 pace. The first half of the run we did on the mesa top, overlooking the front range. Those are the Flatirons behind me in the picture above, the distinctive rock formations which characterize Boulder and CU, where I went to college. As we ran atop the snow on the paths cutting through the tall grass in the open space, we talked about mountain lions, which were becoming prevalent along the front range. One had been spotted in Louisville.
A big cat attacked a boy in Boulder in 2006. I said it sounded like a problem for an Animal Control Officer with a telescopic rifle. Naw, this is Boulder County, P informed me. They're protected. We're encroaching on their environment. You know how liberal Boulder is. I did indeed, having been a State Trooper there for years. I lost lots of court cases, good busts, on technicalities. That judicial attitude bothered a lot of the Troopers but not me. Hey, it was part of the culture in that college town.
The last half of the run we did on trails that wound through the town itself. They were clear. I wondered if they plowed paved running trails in Boulder County.
P has three grown children. We talked about the problems and heartaches children present to their parents. P is a realtor. He knows all about divorces because he is always selling couples' houses so the entire proceeds can go straight to the divorce lawyers, as the man and woman glare at each other. He knew about my situation, the estrangement of my three children, and was a good listener.
I told him I had done a lot of introspective thinking on this solitary week-long car trip. People tell me to move on, get over it. How do you get over losing your children? But I was freshly working on something that was liberating. Forgiveness. Accept the past and forgive in your heart those that caused it. Then move on. Don't let yesterday take up too much of today. This attitude was really making me feel better. It's a work in progress. David once told me to look inside myself in relation to my bitterness and hurt, and this is a derivation of that good advice, I think.
This third magical run in six days came to an end. My friend stood for one last pose (even in DC, I am such a tourist!), with Louisville sprawling over the plains as the backdrop. I said goodbye and went back to the real world.