Archive for August, 2009

Life? don’t talk to me about life.

August 27, 2009

Two of my friends in the last week have talked about seeking an answer to life. One told me that I was not seeking; the other was just very upset about how hard it is to find an answer.

If I am not “seeking” it is because I do not believe there is any answer. The question, to me, reflects a fundamental misunderstanding.

As Douglas Adams said, “The answer to life, the universe and everything — is 42.” Before that he said: “You’re not going to like it.”

We don’t like it, but that’s as good an answer as any.

Why should we expect there to be meaning in the our lives? Not “why do we want meaning?”, but just why do we expect it?

Does a rock have a meaning? Does the sun? These things simply are. What hubris in me wants my life to have some “meaning”?

The French tell me that life is absurd. I think there is some truth in that, but it is not consoling.

Shakespeare once said “That that is is”. A rather witty description.

My yoga class wants me to “live in the moment”. I find this both silly and profound. Someone who truly “lived in the moment” (as I understand the concept) would be unable to survive in the modern world. You have to plan beyond the moment to eat. Perhaps a hunter-gatherer society could live in the moment, but I have my doubts. Even chimpanzees have to plan.

Live for some moments — perhaps.

Swift the gull's flight in the empty air

Swift the gull's flight in the empty air


GPS watch

August 20, 2009

I wondered how accurately my new GPS watch computed the altitude.

I started at the parking lot at Hendry’s beach. The watch was 3~4 feet above the ground which in turn was ~6ft above mean low water. Watch read 0ft.

I ran up to the Douglas family preserve (Wilcox property to some of us). I ran two loops. Now the Wilcox is fairly flat, it might go up or down a foot or three but there aren’t any major changes in elevation.

I went round twice. On the first lap the watch claimed I went between 196ft and 112ft. The second lap I went from 180ft to 108ft. The peaks and valleys of the two laps do not match.

I went back down to the parking lot. Now the watch read -32ft (before it read 0).

I went back up to the Wilcox, this time the watch claimed my altitude varied between 196ft and 96ft.

I went back down to the parking lot: -49ft. Off by about 60ft.

That’s pretty discouraging.

Oh thank goodness…

August 20, 2009

I went running with her yesterday and finally got some information.

I told her to run for 20 minutes on Monday — she said she ran for half an hour (Sounds like a real runner).

She used to do Night Moves, said she even won her age group sometimes. Even better. I’m far less worried now. Don’t know how fast she’ll be, but she sounds like someone who will be able to train to finish in the time we’ve got.


“You’re my coach now!”

August 17, 2009


(interior monologue) I’m happy to give advice, but I’m not sure I’m really a coach.

If I were your coach I’d want to roll time back a month or two and spend that time getting you used to running before I started marathon training.

I haven’t had a chance to say that yet. (end monologue)

Yesterday I was working at the Yoga Center when a friend came up and told me she intended to do the Santa Barbara International Marathon. I’m always glad to hear someone say that. My friend is not a runner so she asked me if I could recommend a book and give her advice — then she disappeared into class before I could say much.

No problem, I figured I’d talk to her after her class.

But she came out and vanished before I could talk to her.

No problem, we would take a class together the next morning (this morning), I’d talk to her then.

Then I realized she probably wasn’t doing any running yet… The race isn’t that far off. Plenty of time to train a runner. Will it be enough for a yogi?

Well she was busy before class today (I expected that) and I didn’t get a chance to talk to her.

No problem, I’d catch her after class.

I did get to start a conversation after class:

I lent her an old beginning marathoning book I’ve got lying around. I told her to start by running every other day, beginning with 20 min/day, told her not to try to run hard…

And then she had to go to another class. As she left, she said— “You’re my coach now!”

She seems all excited about the prospect of running a marathon, but I’m a bit concerned about how hard it is to talk to her☺ I’d like — oh — ten minutes? to find out if she’s been doing any running (I’m assuming not, but I should at least ask), give her some basic cautions and conditions. So far there hasn’t been time.

Not a good sign.

It’s rather flattering to be asked (or at any rate told) to be someone’s coach, I had been thinking I would try to get her started and then suggest she join Rusty’s group, or Team in Training. But the flattery has gone to my head and I shall try to be a coach.

She’s a good yogi. Certainly fit. But not a runner.

Sixteen weeks until the race (well 15 weeks, 6 days). If everything goes well that might be enough.

I had better get advice from Rusty and Mike though…

Have feet will travel

August 12, 2009

My friend Ken organized a trail run. “Cold spring trail.” he said. “West fork.” he added.

But the west fork is all burnt up. I know. I did trail maintenance on it just two months ago.

We ran up it anyway.

I was interested to see how (if) things had changed.

WestForkRegrowth1-12Aug2009-1600From a distance — not much had.

Still the burnt out landscape with a faint odor of ash.

Or so I thought at first, but closer examination revealed that almost every burnt trunk was surrounded by a ground-level halo of green shoots. The trunks, I guess, are WestForkRegrowth4-12Aug2009-1600completely dead, but the roots seem to be alive and have put forth new growth.

We saw some of that two months ago, but it seemed much more common now, and larger patches of green around the trunks.

The ferns which were also coming out 2 months ago seem not to have done so well. They are still there, but no bigger, and no more frequent than before.

But the most cheering sight was a yellow aster blooming in the ash:

Bracken fern upper left, yellow aster lower right

Bracken fern upper left, yellow aster lower right

Sixteen views of Mt. Rainier

August 3, 2009
MtRainierSurrounds-20090724-1024 FirstViewRainierWR-20090725-1024 MtRainierWR2-20090725-1024
MtRainierWR3-20090725-1024 MtRainierWR4-20090725-1024 MtRainierWR5Corral-20090725-1024
MtRainierWR6Suntop-20090725-1024 MtRainierSunrise1-20090725-1024 MtRainierSunrise2-20090725-1024
MtRainierSunrise3-20090725-1024 MtRainierEast-20090726-1024 MtRainierEast2-20090726-1024
MtRainierEast3-20090726-1024 MtRainierParadise1-20090726-1024 MtRainierParadise2-20090726-1024