The Weekend Miscellaneous #12 (Record runs, Books on the Climate Crisis, Brody’s ashes)

New Jersey had its nicest weather weekend of the year to begin the month of May. More and more, it seems like people are going outside again. I spent the majority of my days this weekend down at the pond, my favorite place to be outside. I read a lot about the climate while enjoying its present state.

Without any further ado or anything extemporaneous, here is the weekend review which I call The Weekend Miscellaneous.

Records runs – My typical weekend runs were not necessarily typical this weekend. The long run on Sunday was my longest ever, 15 miles, and not particularly painful. I rather enjoyed it for the most part. The short run on Saturday was set to be my typical three miler. I should note that up until several months ago, I considered 3 miles to be a long run as I usually ran just one or two. That was until my buddy Eric convinced me I should slow down, go further, and consider 3 to be a short run. That is the way I have looked at it ever since October when we started running together in Japan. (Thanks, Eric.) Perspective is everything. Anyway, my short run Saturday was briefly interrupted soon after the two-mile mark. I felt something hit the back of my throat and before I could process that it was a bug I had already reacted by swallowing it. My first thought was “OK, good protein.” My next thought was, “Is this thing still in my throat?”. My third thought was, “It’s probably still alive.” That was when I realized this was going to end with a puke. I held it down for a moment in order to avoid upchucking in front of a passing vehicle. Then I pulled over next to a bush on the side of the road and threw up in someone’s front yard. Rather than inspect my own vomit to confirm the presence of the bug, I decided to assume it was in there, got back on the road, and finished out my last mile. It ended up being the fastest 3 miles I have ever run.

Books on the Climate Crisis – I read a new book called Facing the Climate Emergency by Margaret Klein Salamon on Saturday. Sunday, during my run, I listened to the audio version of What We Know About Climate Change by Kerry Emanuel. I felt that both books were well done, but with different objectives and for different audiences. Margaret’s book was primarily a call to action. As a former psychologist, she urges her readers to face the truth of the climate crisis, welcome the fear and negative feelings that come with it, and choose to confront those feelings directly instead of pushing them away or escaping them. She closes the book by suggesting a multitude of ways by which people can and should join the climate emergency movement. In an evidently different approach, Kerry’s book sought to provide a clear and straight forward summary of the facts. I found it to be tremendously informative. Secondarily, it can be useful as an outline for how to think about the climate crisis and how to calmly discuss it with anyone who denies the facts of the matter. As both an MIT professor of meteorology and a political conservative, Kerry seems to provide as close to an unbiased representation of the facts as I have found. As is suggested by the title, he writes about “what we know”, but also, just as importantly, what we do not know. He writes about the degree to which many aspects of climate change fall somewhere in between those two extremes because the system is so complex that, while some direct impacts are known, the more indirect impacts are difficult if not impossible to predict. Kerry’s book was better for me personally but I cannot say for sure whether I would have proceeded to read it had I not read Margaret’s book first. Perhaps they both served their proper purpose. The contrast in approach between these two books reflects that which exists within the movement to counter climate change itself. There are efforts to recruit versus efforts to inform and it seems that both will be necessary in driving the appropriate level of attention and urgency to this matter of global significance. I plan to continue spending a good deal of time reading and writing about this issue which it seems will inevitably define the development of the future in our lifetimes and, if left unresolved, in the lifetimes of our children and theirs to follow.

Brody’s ashes – I am not sure whether I have mentioned my old dog on the blog before. His name was Brody. Brody was a Wheaten Terrier. He passed away last summer at the old age of 16. He would not so much as sit or stay unless a treat was involved, but I am biased to say that he was a good boy. We took his ashes and spread them outside in the field where he used to bark at our neighbor’s horses. He once broke through the electric fence and got over to where the horses were to chase one of them around as he had been barking to do for years. I must have been in middle school at the time. When I heard a frenzy of yelling outside, I ran upstairs from the basement. I got outside just in time to see Brody hanging onto the running horses tail. He promptly received the full horsepower of a kick in the head. Brody was bleeding out of his mouth and we feared the kick might kill him but my parents brought him to the animal hospital and he turned out to be just fine. The place where Brody most loved to bark and rebel against calls for him to come back in the house seemed to be the most fitting place for his ashes. We spread them in the field and they flew away in the wind. It was nice. Everyone spread some with the bag and I took a pinch and threw it too and rubbed the dust between my fingers. I washed them off with water. Brody’s ashes were free.