William M.

The Runner

Standing upon a sand covered knoll, I look off at the horizon.
Below my lofty perch, the harmonious ocean waves tussle with the moist sand.
I watch this place of transition, the meeting point of two vastly different realms.

Yet somehow the two lands are interconnected,
For there could not be one without the other.
The waves rise, growing inland, eating up the beach,
And then, as the sand pushes them back, they recede.

Gazing down onto this area of gentle turmoil, I spot a shadow far off in the distance.

The lone figure makes his way across the sandy sea.
It is a sea of sand, hot and blistering from the intensity of the late afternoon sun.
The figure runs along the edge of a different sea, a sea of endless water.
His feet gently pound the cool, moist ground, leaving miniature footprints in his wake.

The runner lengthens his strides, appearing to glide effortlessly across the ground,
Hair streaming out behind him, noble and august.
Flying across the endless terrain that encompasses all life.
Completely at peace, yet powerful and strong.

I make my way towards the runner,
Striving to achieve an equal measure of excellence.
As I run, the waves advance up the beach,
Moistening the rough earth between the land and sea.
I run through the turmoil, desperately yearning to run beside this runner,
But instead always trailing just behind in his wake.
However, as I run, my focus on reality sharpens.

The runner is not perfect.
His form is not the idealized runnerís goal of 30 strides a minute.
And as he runs, a sweat breaks out upon his brow, shimmering like mist in the sunset.
His breath rasps softly along with the rhythm of the wind, the heartbeat of the earth.
But his imperfections are not demeaning.
They show his strength and determination, a determination that drives him on.
And they somehow make him more real and living.

He is closer now.
The fading light distorts his image and produces a mile-long shadow behind him.
But the shadow does not drag him down.
He calls upon it to join him upon his journey, bringing his past with him to the future.
The bright, fiery colors of life create a crowning aurora around him,
And his figure is turned completely black,
A silhouette in the sunset.

The splashing of his feet through the now deepening water is sonorous and evocative.
His breath comes out in gusts that resonate in the silence.
A pair of white birds fly by overhead, glowing in the dimming light.

Sensing my presence, the runner beckons me forward.
Never slowing, he reaches out to me and renews my strength.
And then, the runner calls out a single word.
A name.

I hear the call, wrapping itself around me comfortingly.
And as my feet hit splash through the cool water, I join him.
I join this runner.
He is a symbol, standing for something much greater himself,
Standing for freedom and the propitious future of the world.
Never looking back, still he continues to run.
Running along the beach.

As the last glowing flames of the sun lower themselves below the horizon,
Another figure moves out of the shadows.

And the runner calls out again.


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