In third grade, my music teacher told us the story of Beethoven. I think it was Beethoven. I’m too lazy to google it now.
When Beethoven first started losing his hearing, he inserted a metal tube into his ear to help him drown out the excess noise and focus his hearing. As his hearing worsened, however, the metal tube served less and less effectual; to compensate, Beethoven drove the tube deeper and deeper into his ear canal.
I moved recently — four whole doors down to another unit in my complex. It wasn’t ideal, but life rarely is. My roommates and I had hoped to move into a house — an eclectic one with a porch, a balcony, a big yard, tucked into the hills over Asheville, perhaps with a long driveway bridge.
We like to dream big.
My grandfather celebrated his ninetieth birthday last month. Family from coast to coast — West to East and North to South — converged upon Langhorne, Pennsylvania for our biggest family celebration since my grandparents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary in 1998. A lot’s happened in the last two decades.
I’ve written previously about the one I call Ahh, and I’m sure I’ll be writing about my grandfather the rest of my life. He traveled the world speaking about God and miracles and smoked the sweetest smelling tobacco pipes on his front porch. That I could come from such a wise and whimsical man astounds me.
Six months ago, I decided to be reckless. I was out running by a lake near my home in Asheville as that all-too-common feeling of stuckness squelched my every step. I needed a change — what else is new? — something to plan, somewhere to run. As I literally ran in this moment of desperation, my thoughts latched onto the notion of a half-marathon.
I’d run my first half four years ago as part of a 25th birthday celebration that also included my baptism and a coastal trip with my parents. After triumphantly finishing that race under two hours, I’d unofficially decided to run a half every year thereafter as a way to keep me physically in check, geared toward some grand physical goal.