Uh-oh! I seem to be airborne. All that’s in front of me is concrete. If I don’t do something, my exposed hands will hit first. Tuck, and try not to hit your head. Still, on impact the first thing I do is look around to see if anyone saw that. It’s embarrassing to trip and fall, especially when you’re old enough to be avoiding that sort of thing. I jog before it’s fully light out, however, and the sidewalks can be uneven. Just in case anyone’s watching my Superman impression, I immediately climb to my feet and resume my pace. I’ll be sore tomorrow. As a jogger since high school you’d think I’d have this worked out by now, but you’re never too old to learn, I guess.
The amazing thing to me is just how much you can think in those fleet seconds that you’re actually in the air, about to hit the ground like a sack of old man. That’s exactly what happened, though, from the split second I felt my toe catch in an unseen crack and felt my balance give way. Taking additional steps while trying to straighten back up sometimes works, but my top-heavy head was too far out of sync and my feet were sure to follow. Your memory of such things goes out of body and you watch yourself comically flying, without the grace of a bird, toward an unforgiving substrate. Such is the fate of the early morning runner. I don’t have time to do it during the day. What if someone emails and I don’t answer? They’ll think I’m slacking off. Remote workers!
Despite the occasional spills, I’ve always enjoyed this form of exercise. In the post-Nashotah House days while still in Wisconsin I’d sometimes do nine miles at a time. Whenever I’ve moved to a new place I’ve gotten to know the neighborhood by jogging around. Even if it’s not fully light you can see plenty. (Although the cracks in the sidewalk aren’t always obvious.) I tend to think about these things as life lessons. Parables, if you will. One of the deep-seated human dreams is that of flying. Birds make it look so easy, and fun. A human body feels so heavy when it impacts the ground. I suspect that’s why we find gymnasts so fascinating to watch. As for me, I’m just a middle-aged guy in sweats and wearing glasses. And even as I head home I’m already thinking how remarkable the number of thoughts are in the few seconds while in flight, somewhere over the concrete.