Editor's Notebook, February 2001
The damn snow is still on the track. If you read my last notebook column, about the wonders of nature and the cycles of the seasons, blah, blah, blah, forget it. I don't give a damn about the deer tracks and the ground squirrels or whatever scampering through the peaceful glen of Thunder Valley. I want the roar of many large motors creating an unfolding pageant of personal courage and skill. I want a highly tuned engine, preferably six inches behind my head, telling the never-ending story of the triumph of the human spirit.
Well, that makes me feel better.
Many years ago, I attended a personal awareness weekend at a retreat center in Wisconsin (not very far from Thunder Valley). In one of the sessions, we were asked to think about and then tell the group about a place that provided us with a sense of harmony, of completeness. I listened as group members talked about green fields, warm sunshine, gentle clouds, and the sound of birds.
|the wind against my face...|
When it was my turn, I talked about riding the elevated train home each evening from my office in the heart of Chicago. It was an old train that flew on tracks raised well above ground level. I stood each evening at the very front of the train, looking out at the track ahead. In good weather, I opened the front window and felt the wind rush against my face.
At first, the windows of office buildings rushed by on either side of the track. Then, the flat, tar roofs of warehouses and stores, punctuated by vertical, illuminated signs, stretched out from either side of the train. Still later, the peaked roofs of homes pinged by.
Through it all, the track remained constant. It glistened in the setting sun and telegraphed the movement of the train. I watched the track race straight ahead and then bend in the distance. Within moments, the train swayed as we entered the bend and the track once again displayed itself, straight as a bullet into the future.
I thought about the offices, the stores, the homes. I knew that we on the train were a part of that life, were traveling from home to work, to shop, to visit, to escape, to explore, and then to return home.
For me, the harmony I sought was in the journey, the power of the train, the constancy of the track, the melding of the landscape into a visual collage of our lives. It gave me peace.
Racing is like that. It is a journey from home into the unknown and back. We don't have a starting line and a finish line. We just have start/finish.
The journey is enough. May it provide you peace.