The Better Music

They call it “Carolina Blue” because of days like today.  Brilliant sunshine, cool dry air, and that impossibly blue sky that looks as though you could swim in it.  In a word, breathtaking.  And after this bleaker than usual cold winter, today seemed to be for the birds… Literally.  They are coming back, those little harbingers of springs promise.  Their songs filled the air as I ran down my usual running trail.  It was just one of those special mornings that seems to be the occasional interest payment I get after slogging through a few months of cold, dank, and dreary weather.

The trail, not surprisingly, was packed.  People see that sunshine, and they get the same idea I do.  Go.  Get moving.  Enjoy it.  And so it was I found myself sailing by, in, and around a wide spectrum of fellow runners… Young and old, big and small, men and women.  But as I got farther into the run, I began to see a common theme, and it was one that really bothered me, this day in particular.  Headphones.

Those of you who have known me long enough know where I stand on the iPod thing.  It’s not for me.  But over the past year or so I have softened my stance a bit as far as other people wearing them.  Hey, if that’s what gets you out there and on the road, then that’s cool.  I’m down with that.  But today the air was filled with its own music, and it dawned on me that most people were missing it.  Halfway down the trail, I decided to start counting.  I passed 33 runners.  Of the 33 I counted, exactly SEVEN were sans headphones.  Even more surprising to me were the people who were running in groups, yet one or all were wearing headphones.  I saw that three times.  I mean, what’s the point of running with somebody if you are just going to wall yourself off anyway?

Hey, maybe it’s just a generational thing.  When I started running the Sony Walkman was still just a drawing on a sheet of paper.  But to me, running has always been a good time to just step out and clear my head.  I get that hour or so to just get my thoughts together, enjoy the day, and ponder.  Or if I’m running with friends, it’s a great time to catch up.  But, it seems as though I am clearly and increasingly in the minority, and that does kind of bum me out.  A lot.

So hey, it’s 2010, and I made a resolution to not be so judgmental this year.  If that iPod filled with Jay-Z or Led Zeppelin or Mariah Carey gets you through the run, then more power to you.  But maybe once, just every now and again, try going without.  You might be surprised what you’ve been missing.

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