South Bound But Not Down

Last week my son asked me if I wanted to go jogging with him. The question caught me off guard. I don’t jog and I definitely don’t jog enough to have earned the -ing.
Maybe he had actually listened to me one of the times that I professed my intentions to drop some weight and get back in shape. He was probably just trying to help me out.
“Sure bud, let me get ready.” I replied against my better judgment.
It took me a while to find the running shoes I had purchased some months before. They were sitting neglected in the back corner of closet. I’m pretty sure I had hid them to avoid my wife’s ridicule.
“You really needed those running shoes, didn’t you?” I could almost hear her. As I mentioned I don’t run.
All laced up we headed for the track. I stalled as long as I could stretching, midway through the second set of jumping jacks he piped in, “I think we are warmed up, can we start running?”
Sighing, I agreed, there was no avoiding it. Taking a deep breath we started near the fifty yard line, at a comfortable gate. After a few strides he looked over and said he was going to pick up the pace, adding that I could stop whenever I needed to, as if I somehow needed permission from a seventh grader to rest.
“Go ahead,” I exhaled, “I am going to ease into it.”
He’s a tall kid, probably three inches taller than me and all of that is in his legs so his stride is longer. Plus he has been working out since football that is why he is faster. I’ll be OK, I thought, my breathing becoming more labored. It’s cold, that wears you out quicker. As the goal post passed on my left I decided I needed to make it to the opposite side’s fifty.
Reaching my goal, I was completely winded, after just half of a lap. Not even a quarter of a mile. What had become of me? I was never a runner but this was awful. Putting my hands on my hips I continued to walk, as I caught my breath.
Just then I heard some geese flying overhead. They formed a V, synchronized in their flight, all working together as one. That is all but one poor lonely goose who had fallen behind the others. Even though his wings seemed to be flapping to the same cadence, he simply was not keeping up. I started to wonder how many times he had made the trip South? Did his kids ever drop back to give him words of encouragement or was he on his own?
I could picture he and his son talking at a pond later that night.
The graying goose might say, “You know I’ve been reading about this global warming stuff, honestly we might be alright stopping here. Our feathers are actually pretty warm, I hear people make blankets out of them, we could catch them on the way back.”
Most assuredly he and his son would debate the science supporting his assumption. Then his son would note centuries of history supporting their biannual flight, not to mention the fact that he now held his dad’s old spot three back from the front of the V.
Looking up I thought out loud, “Keep your beak up buddy, you can do it, don’t stop flapping.”
Then I put my head down and started to jog again. I had been around the track quite a few times in my life but I wasn’t ready to sit in the bleachers yet. With forty knocking on the door, now was the time to start jogging again, I may be out of shape but I’m not ready to give up yet.


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