Thursday, October 28, 2004

Sunday Morning in San Francisco

Sunday morning glory moment: powerwalking along the Great Highway in San Francisco, watching the blue (yes, blue, not chocolate brown ala Galveston) waves break into white mists that rise to meet the gulls that soar with a backdrop of clouds over the sea of purple T-shirt-clad women runners nearing the end of a marathon – everything in multiples . . . waves, sea birds, clouds and the runners in all shapes and sizes and colors and ages.

I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time as the first finishers were cheered across the line. I also felt fortunate to be healthy enough to feel my own lungs expand with the intake of sea air and a certain amount of pride . . . in the women, the accomplishment, the supporters, my own sweat . . . just about everything.

God, it was beautiful.

Later, a tattered man, in his 50s or 60s, with a flesh-colored nose guard and hair that hadn't seen shampoo in a while hanging from beneath a soiled cap stood waiting beside me at the light.

"What is this?" he inquired. "I see it's a race but what for?"

"Nike Marathon," I huffed, trying not to appear too winded. "For leukemia."

"Oh. Is it over?"

"It's the beginning of the end," I said and crossed the street to keep walking up the hill.

He smiled. I'm not sure if it was at the race or the irony of the comment.

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