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Run 29: A Little Lesson in Multiculturalism, or: Welcome to St. Olive Cemetery

April 16, 2012

Miles: 6

Other Runners: zip

So I’m pretty sure I wrenched my knee- or, to be more precise, wrenched my posterior cruciate ligament. It totally stinks, but the combination of blustery weather, a wedding to anticipate (with a stretch Hummer for those of us in the wedding party. Drink champagne and disregard all concern for my environmental footprint? Don’t mind if I do! …just this once), a cutie cat and a happy husband have significantly softened my disappointment.

I did a slow 6-miler on Friday, and despite all the pain, it was really lovely. I ran west to St. Olive Cemetery, where there are long stretches of emerald grass and small, sloping hills to trace mindlessly. Unless there is a funeral, I don’t feel at all bad about running in cemeteries. I’m not going to articulate my thoughts on death in this web-log, but I do think we spend far too little time acknowledging that it happens. Cemeteries are peaceful, and as I see it, running within them actively honors those who ran and played as children, or ran after children, or ran long distances for the pure joy of it.  “At the end of my life, I hope I have used everything I had until I simply… ran out of time.”*

Being from a small town (one in which my friendly parents know and are known by nearly everyone over the age of 75), I have attended an absurdly large number of funeral visitations and visited every area cemetery at least 8  times. Each is pretty in its own way, but they’re all ultimately very similar. Most headstones are simple, some are ornate, all are very tasteful. No plastic flowers between April and November, etc., etc. Mt. Olive was the same at first- lots of Norwegian and German-sounding names, some Greek. It was a grey day, and the white headstones stood solemnly in stark contrast with the dark clouds and deep green grass. And then I rounded a bend, and truly: someone turned on the color. I don’t know any other way to explain it. It was a long sea of rainbow pinwheels, all spinning, and massive bouquets of purple and fuschia and gold (very) plastic flowers, and hand-written signs, and, somewhere in the midst of all of this, more white headstones. I told my husband about it later, and he said nonchalantly, “Oh sure, the Mexican section.” Well. I want my descendants to be Mexican. What a vibrant remembering.

*In honor of today’s hot Boston Marathon, the above quote is from Dave McGillivray, the race coordinator and a powerhouse runner in his own right.

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One Comment
  1. Great quote! Reminds me of grandpa’s “this ain’t no practice run on life….go for it, always!”

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