As I was doing a run through Georgetown, I noticed a woman staring at me as I circled the roundabout. When I looked back inquisitively, she asked, “You crazy?” I was momentarily flummoxed, but she quickly followed up with, “We can hardly breathe just walking, and here you are running!”
At that point, we, including her husband, laughed and engaged in an extended chat. They were from Chicago, passing through on their way to Aspen for an art show. Being an artist Aspen-bound engendered further conversation.
I asked if they intended to drive over Independence Pass. She looked in horror, said she drove it last year and was grateful she hadn’t plunged over a precipice.
“It probably doesn’t bother you,” she said.
“Nah,” I replied. “I’ve gotten used to seeing nothing but sky when driving mountain roads.”
That exchange with two people I’ll likely never see again was a gift. As were the countless “Good Mornings” I shared a day later with hikers making their ways up Herman’s Gulch as I trooped down. Reminders of the wonder of human relationships and interactions that come about by opening the fourth chakra: The Heart. We were united in our humanity, one tribe, sharing a time and place. The Now.
I run. A lot. I’ve worn out umpteen pairs of running shoes tripping around Georgetown for two decades plus in all kinds of weather and temperatures and at times of day and night. Thousands of miles. Each run a singular experience because in addition to doing what I can to continue experiencing a healthy life, I put myself out there into Georgetown’s and the Clear Creek Universe. You never know whose path you’ll cross.
Engagement. Conversing, even if it’s a two-word salutation: “Good Morning.”
I think of that when I write my columns and go on the air. I’m having a conversation with readers and listeners. When asked how many listeners KYGT has or the circulation of the Courant, I shrug and say, “It doesn’t matter. You never know for whom your words resonate. I simply put my thoughts and ideas out there in reasoned and respectful ways with the belief they will find their ways to the right persons.” Like the parable of the sower. Some seeds land on hard ground or in thistles; others in fertile fields.
As readers and listeners know, I have a certain point of view: Traditional liberal, according to More in Common, which I’ll discuss in future columns. But the label is an oxymoron given liberals don’t get bogged in the “ruts of tradition,” as Henry David Thoreau calls it. I leave that to my conservative friends to stay nestled in.
I arrived at my outlooks and philosophical constructs via a circuitous route that began when I said yes to the journey. As Joseph Campbell taught, once one makes that affirmation, there’s no turning back.
“Find your path,” I urged my students. “Don’t believe something because I or your parents or some other authority said so. Believe it because after thorough study, you arrived at a well-reasoned conclusion.”
The First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech can be read passively or actively. Passive is static, the individual knows he/she has the right but exercises it little or not at all. An active reading obligates one to speak.
Free speech is essential to democracy, both of which often get messy. But then, democracy isn’t intended to be tidy. A tidy society is what autocracies and theocracies promise but with deplorable results.
The fourth estate. Print media. Column writing. Reading well-written, thought-provoking columns and letters to the editor.
Breaking bread intellectually.
To be continued.