First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Friday, March 31, 2006

Sunrise 5:56 am: Souls made of clay


"You know it's going to be muddy," remarked the male Dawn Jogger as they headed out to Arastradero, on what would be the last "sun up" Friday for awhile, what with the daylight savings time change coming. "Our shoes will become bricks," he further warned.

Bay Area soil is largely made up of clay, which, when wet, gets either sticky or slippery, depending on exposure. Conditions can be particularly bad at the Arastradero Preserve where long stretches of exposed dirt result in inch thick clay build up on the soles of running shoes.

A sole of clay is a small burden. But souls of clay carry much more weight, as reminded by Charles Kingsley's famous children's book "Heroes" in the story of Perseus:

"I am Pallas Athene; and I know the thoughts of all men's hearts, and discern their manhood or their baseness. And from the souls of clay I turn away, and they are blest, but not by me. They fatten at ease, like sheep in the pasture, and eat what they did not sow, like oxen in the stall. They grow and spread, like the gourd along the ground; but, like the gourd, they give no shade to the traveller, and when they are ripe death gathers them, and they go down unloved into hell, and their name vanishes out of the land.

"But to the souls of fire I give more fire, and to those who are manful I give a might more than man's. These are the heroes, the sons of the Immortals, who are blest, but not like the souls of clay. For I drive them forth by strange paths, Perseus, that they may fight the Titans and the monsters, the enemies of Gods and men. Through doubt and need, danger and battle, I drive them; and some of them are slain in the flower of youth, no man knows when or where; and some of them win noble names, and a fair and green old age; but what will be their latter end I know not, and none, save Zeus, the father of Gods and men. Tell me now, Perseus, which of these two sorts of men seem to you more blest?'

"Then Perseus answered boldly: 'Better to die in the flower of youth, on the chance of winning a noble name, than to live at ease like the sheep, and die unloved and unrenowned."

1 Comments:

Blogger Chris Gulker said...

Wonderful commentary, dear... gave me pause to think on a break this AM...

10:47 AM  

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