The Magic of Thinking Big
I believe in the magic of thinking big. If you think big, pray big, believe big, love big, bigness will flow to you. Bigness to me is ideas. On my best days they flow at a rate of 400psi from a fire hose. I attempt to catch them in wide-mouthed bottles. In overwhelm, I open my mouth wide and swallow them whole. Too fast and I choke, too slow and I drown but this is not the worst thing that can happen. The worst is when the ideas don’t come at all, because I’ve turned inward, turned my back to the source. I am not the source. It is not inside me.
Ideas require discipline. I’ve found this is best achieved by running. When I run, my legs, arms, heart and blood start pumping. My brain is forced to consider the traffic, the downed tree branch, the threat of rain, the dog and the invisible fence I hope contains him, the puddles of slush, the aroma of Congin’s Pizza. Ideas are forced to take a back seat and after a while they begin to settle, get in line, even harmonize. This necessitates music. Call me crazy but I’m annoyed by the sound of feet on surfaces, including my own beating the pavement. Add this to the list of quirks that make me lovable. It’s the reason I’m irritated when Scout won’t stop pacing our wood floors, the reason I’ll never be a Cavaliers fan. Remember, I’m loveable.
Today’s run begins at 5 ‘o clock. The idea: a retrospective of our first year in Chardon. After lacing my sneakers and starting up my playlist, I ply the kids with cheese sticks and leave them in Sean’s capable hands.
I depart Ferris Avenue headed south toward Chardon Municipal Cemetery, one of my favorite places especially in summer when Cemetery Karl is mowing the grass. Karl always pauses his mowing to visit, giving Scout his undivided attention. I do my part engaging Karl in conversation to extend the petting. The cemetery was the site of my first walking date with my neighbor and now good friend, Jules. It’s also where, in the heat of July, Gus took his first tentative glide in roller blades. Today the summer seems a distant promise. Bohemian Rhapsody is blaring from my ear buds as I pass through the gates, an anthem that starts slow then builds to where I’m virtually flying. I say virtually because to the bystander I appear as if slogging through wet cement. Bystanders are usually few at the cemetery. Yet, as I’m preparing to round the first curve just past the outbuilding, having exhaled a heartfelt “Mama, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh,” out of the corner of my eye I see a little silhouette-oh of a woman converging on me with her dog. They are laughing.
A right on South Street will lead me to Gus’s martial arts studio, Odayaka. A left onto Claridon and I’d eventually arrive at Synergy Equestrian where Ingrid takes English riding lessons. Before Chardon our kids had never participated in activites. Sean and I traveled too much to make it feasible. Now they’re making friends out of teammates, cantoring over oxers, swimming the backstroke, and shouting kia with religious fervor. I veer north on South Street propelled by the scent of melting cheese. On my right I pass Pilgrim Christian Church where Gus’s Cub Scout pack meets and where we recently began attending Sunday service with our neighbors, the Ray’s. New friends at church think Laura and I are sisters. Apparently after a year neighbors begin to look alike. I dodge traffic, darting across Water Street toward the library, a place I frequent with such regularity I’ve memorized my library card number: 232350031*****. Some things are sacred.
I run past Park Elementary where all three kids started school last March and toward the middle school where Ingrid is now a student. But first, the Square. Ah, the Square. The grassy rectangle around which Gus paraded at Halloween in an inflatable T-Rex costume, where Spooky unearthed a T-Rex skeleton, where we watched the Christmas tree light up, where Curt was abducted by aliens. I cross to North Street and when I reach the high school I have a strange compulsion to run a lap on the track, the closest I’ll ever get to being a Chardonite. I’m alone apart from a hurdle on the inner lane. I make the loop and all the while the hurdle taunts me. I run past it then backtrack approaching with curiousity, a new toy in the gorilla pen. I attempt a couple of leaps alongside it - I’m not trying to kill myself. I begin to think I can clear it. At least if I fall I won’t hear the crash. Eh, what the hell? I text my friends a photo of the hurdle, caption: I’m going for it. I get a running start, stutter step in the final second to lead with my right leg and make the jump. I land inaudibly, arms thrust into the air, cheering to no one at all. Time to head home.
I beat it back up North Street and onto Main. At the corner of Main Street and Short Court I pause at VoLo. I jog past Beans, now closed, where I’ve met nearly everyone I know in Chardon. Returning to Ferris I consider the mystery of God’s plans. Two weeks after we moved into our house, having no furniture apart from four mattresses, six wooden dining chairs and Bob and Beth’s folding table, we were told Sean’s base was moving and that we’d need to relocate to Akron. And yet, we’re still here. I text Laura and Jules I’m running past, hoping they’ll look out the window so I can perform embarrassing dance moves from the sidewalk between their houses. They don’t look. They’re making dinner which is what I should be doing.
PS. Galileo, Galileo, Galileo, Figaro. Come to think of it, that gives me an idea…