Facing a long day flying home, I wake early for a run on the beach. I repeat the route I took yesterday, enter the beach at its start, run north for thirty-three minutes and turn around. A fitness program on my phone allows me to play music while it tracks my progress and time. In a nice voice it reminds me every so often that I still cannot run a mile in under ten minutes. At this rate the 70 mile triathlon I have been training for will take nearly eight hours to complete.
The beach is nearly empty this morning. There are a few other joggers but most people I meet are here for a nice walk at the water’s edge. The tide is coming in and I am not always quick enough to get out of the way of the small waves that climb the beach. My running shoes are soon wet and heavy.
I have set the program to shuffle music and despite the randomness the songs always seem to fit what I am experiencing. As I cross under a pier a song based upon an Irish blessing starts to play in my ears.
May the wind be always at your back
And the sunshine warm upon your face.
May the rains fall soft upon your field
Until the day we meet again.
And the roof that hangs over your head
Find you shelter from the storm.
Before the devil knows you’re dead
May you be in heaven my friend.*
As if on cue I come upon an elderly woman facing the sun with her palms raised. Finishing her morning prayer, she makes the sign of the cross, turns slowly and walks away.
The next song starts and I continue jogging north.
* Devil Knows You’re Dead by Delta Spirit