Run is a word that runners take for granted. It’s ours. We own it. We remind everyone around us incessantly with our mileage counts, tights and bulky watches that we are the chosen ones, the runners.
On my first trip to Alaska, I found that we are not alone. Other things run. My plane ran late, and I was feeling a little run down, and my daughter’s nose was running, but my toilet did not. What’s more, even though it does happen to me more than I would care to admit, and is a bit of an occupational hazard for a writer like me, who should really know better, considering how many courses I’ve taken and how many of them I’ve put together over the many years that I have pursued this avocation of mine, which perhaps you share too, it was not my sentences, other than this one, that were running on. (And yes, among writers, that’s a running joke.)
I was in Ketchican, Alaska, and the most popular runners in this town are not people like us. They are the salmon.
Ketchican is self-proclaimed Salmon Capital of the World. And when we visited in mid-July, they were just starting to head back upstream to the place where they were born. Not just to visit for a spaghetti dinner, like I do when I go home to visit my hometown. They were going to drop off some eggs. And die. Or, if they have flair for the dramatic, be eaten by bears or by the waves of bald eagles we saw there day after day. So when I took my scenic run around town and along the salmon creek that yes, runs, in the middle of town, with the hope that this runner would escape that kind of ironic ending to this trip.
So here’s my running wish for you from Alaska: next time you head out for a run , may you run like the salmon, but eat like the eagle.