The Quick and the Sick

In the past week or two, the Boston area has begun to emerge from another hibernation. Birds chirp. Buds are on the trees. And people are about as smiley as they get around here.

Marathon Monday was the season in microcosm: a fierce early thunderstorm gave way to sun by the time the last runners limped by after the pace car.

Standing along the route watching the last few hours of the pack go by, all I could think of was how I’d driven the same way they were running two or three times the night before, back and forth to the emergency room.

The marathon goes right past the hospital, so I’d passed barricades and other race paraphernalia on the way in and out of the parking lot throughout the night. And, some minutes after I saw the runners the next day, they would chug past the hospital, sweating their way toward the finish line about 10 miles ahead.

What a lesson in the fragility and indomitability of the human condition. Vision-impaired runners bravely complete marathons with their sighted guides. The occasional over-80 runner would go by, stooped but not stopping. And, meanwhile, who knows how many people had to spend the day in the hospital for some reason or other.

Time and chance happeneth to them all. Take an extra moment to appreciate the sunshine and the spring in your step.