Perhaps it is the utter uselessness of it all that contributes to its supreme usefulness in my mind and heart.
Dog sled drivers are gathering in Alaska for 42nd running of the Iditarod, a ten-day, one-thousand-mile race that pits individuals against ... against ... against themselves. Yes, there are $50,000 and a pickup that the winner will take home but who gives a shit? Sixty-nine participants setting out on Sunday for ... for ... for what?
This is h-u-g-e.
This is serious.
This is courage.
This is foolish.
This is great -- really, no silver-tongued-bullshit great.
A thousand miles across fierce terrain. No one is holding their hands. No one is crooning "good joooob!" No one is promising them a place in heaven. There are no short-cuts or easy ways to do it. This is going to a place within that precedes even the hallucinations that come calling. This is Beethoven's 9th. This is former sports writer Red Smith's observation that "Writing is easy. You just sit down at a typewriter and open a vein." Drip, drip, drip.
In this reality, those who praise the "human spirit" are like $5 hookers ... drooping, sagging, weak, effete, stupid, inadequate. Like me.
Nothing is won.
There may be parameters and rules, but nothing is won.
And yet there is something.
"Something" ... and even on my warm and wimpy perch, my heart soars like a hawk.