A View from the Top


Gordon Cherr,


“Blue”, she said. “His name is Blue.” Which I found interesting because he was a pure white little pony. I was running up the big hill that borders the Interstate at Thornton Road and Miccosukee, where with a little imagination I don ‘t hear the traffic at all. It kind of sounds like a mighty river if you let it. Not the sound of 18 wheelers, but of a river coursing downhill on its inexorable way to the sea. The eventual destination of all rivers.

I was going to turn around at the water fountain after 4 miles from the field at Crump Road. Four miles out, 4 miles back. A beautiful run through the woods, not coincidentally under a gorgeous spring blue sky. The kind of blue sky we get here before summer takes over for 9 months, the sky I don’t see for so many months because it is so oppressive here all summer long that I run before sunrise and finish with the pink to red to light blue to azure blue dawn sky. Haven’t you ever noticed?

But I wanted to run with him, so I caught them going up the big hill and gave them a wide berth. We talked about Blue, she said she didn’t mind if I ran some with them around the field, so run we did. I got close enough and with her say so, patted him on the neck and rubbed his ears and scratched him between the eyes. He gave me a little side wise glance and we kept pace perfectly. It was just the blue sky, the noisy river, and the little white horse named Blue.

Time has no meaning when you run with friends.
A week passes and I am running in the morning twilight on the Killearn golf course, where I have logged miles for 16 years. Damn, for some reason winter, who has studiously avoided us here in north Florida, has appeared. I am cold, irritable, not in the running spirit. Just need to get these 7 miles in and go home. I am watching the sky as it starts its color wheel display towards blue this completely clear dawn.

There is something in the concrete cart path in front of me, I almost step on it. Whoa, I jump over it and stop to look back despite my then state of mind. It is a little bird sitting on the cold concrete. Is it dead? I look closer and nudge it gently with my toe. It is a tiny female blue bird. She casts a weary eye my way, but does not flee. I think that she is sitting in a small patch of morning sun, probably trying to warm up this cold morning. A tiny, little bird all alone on a great big spinning earth, trying to stay alive.

I worry about predators all around and want to move her, but she looks so cold all hunkered down in her feathered coat. I nudge her again with my toe, trying to get her to fly away. Instead, she hops onto the top of my shoe and sits down again. That had to be better than the cold concrete.

What do you do when a freezing little bluebird sits down on your shoe during the middle of a miserable run? For one thing, you stop where you are, and despite the freezing sweat, you don’t move a muscle. And the run, which was so God awful until then, takes on a new hue completely. I feel good inside. I can certainly spare a toe box for a while, until she gets ready to go. Couldn’t you? Of course.

I think sometimes, that it is a test.
My Mom had a way of catching me in test situations and saying “God is watching you.” Now, I never believed that for any number of reasons, but her comment always stayed with me. She wasn’t religious, she just meant that you gotta do the right thing, no matter what.

My Mom died a few weeks ago at age 90. We buried her in a pretty place overlooking a sparkling lake. How do you say goodbye to the person who gave you life?

I have been looking for her in the blue skies under which I run. I thought about her running alongside a friendly white pony named Blue. I thought about her because a tiny bluebird was sitting on my toe in the cold dawn, testing me.

I guess that it just takes time.