No race is ever a steady deed,
no gradual slackening from first to last;
the large store of energy
cannot be freed in a careful pour.
The worst of it is actually
toward the first lap turn
when the flush of fresh adrenaline
abruptly pulls up short,
or finishing the second round
when the half feels like a whole,
with a whole half yet to go,
and who knows how much more
grit is left to shake the obstinate bear.
With joints seizing, jaw clenched,
lung cages like old jails
are wrenched open at lap four,
when the mesmerizing spell splits
at the sudden report, and through the crack
rushes a gust, a shove, a love that turns
weightless heavy feet and sets coarse
gray hair waving wild in wind,
and wheelchair wheels to their spin
and glint in slanted sun;
and everyone is leaning forward!
Back straight now, muscles
screaming their defiant
delight at the quickening
impossible pace, and more
of the world is taken in
and breathed out
that moment the lap gun
fires its shattering roar
remaking the race into
a brazen grace that runs
the lane like it has never
run the lane before.
Gun Lap for the Mile is a metaphor for those entering into the season of retirement. I am indebted to my friend Jay Grover whose idea this is. He is seeing his own recent retirement as the gun lap, that final lap where, instead of things slowing down toward a tepid finish, the race is enlivened with drama and energy, the gun breaking the spell of "tiredness" and infusing urgency and life and the will to win into the final lap of the race. What a beautiful picture of the last season of life! As Boomers edge past the 65 year mark at a rate of 12,000 a day, may this idea inspire: run the lane like you have never run the lane before!
Photo credit: Geralt; Pixabay.com CCO Public Domain