It's More than One Thing / by Kendall R


Wall - Day 90
Originally uploaded by iamkr
I had to drive to Golden to meet a friend for a run on the Apex trail. Had being the operative word because the smoke was so bad in Boulder from the Four Mile Fire that exercise anywhere in town was like smoking a pack of cigarettes all at once. The inversion at night (when the upper atmospheric air falls to ground-level) was soaking the evening in smoke-filled bleh and made sleep hard. I hadn’t slept well in two nights because I would wake up with a scratchy throat and headache and stuffed up nose. No sleep was making me grumpy. No exercise made me irritable. And the constant smoke and fire set me on edge. And these are just the external factors.

When I wasn’t sleeping for the smoke, I was pondering in the darkness my life and asking questions such as “Am I living the best I can? Am I doing enough? Why do I feel like I am failing? Is there any validity to that feeling? How am I going to get this and that done when I don’t know about the other factors?” And on and on and on. I wasn’t just tired in my physical life, I was tired emotionally and mentally and spiritually.

In other words, it isn’t just one thing. It never is. It’s a whole number of things together that make for a weighed down life, or a short-sighted spirit.

I knew a guy from Belfast, who grew up in The Troubles of Northern Ireland. He told me that one of the ways the IRA would kill people or coerce information out of a man is they would make him lay down on his back, then they would start to stack bricks on his chest, one at a time. Eventually the load would get so heavy that the man would suffocate and die, or the load would crush his chest. It wasn’t one brick that killed him. It was a multitude over time.

Driving back from Golden - feeling quite a bit better for the run and the always in-depth, life-giving conversation between labored breaths with my friend – I could see beyond the smoke and ash in my world. It is here I saw how many bricks were laid upon my chest, that it isn’t just one thing that was disorienting me. The smoke removed. The exercise in play. I was starting to breath again. And I could see then how skewed my perspective was on those internal things, too.