Friday, November 19, 2010

Miles of Connections

It's fun to take direct action for nature. Granted there are more than a few people who would hesitate to deem a marathon fun. I recently ran the New York City marathon to raise money for nature. In the race, you get a runner’s eye view of the cultural and ethnic diversity of the city -- a kind of urban biodiversity.

The very energy that makes New York glow so brightly from the inside propels you down the streets and up the avenues in all five boroughs over the 26.2 mile course. All of it.

The third generation Irish kids in Bay Ridge holding their little hands out for high fives, the noisy garage rock band set in a gas station entrance in Park Slope, the older African American women bellowing support in Clinton Hill, the Orthodox Jews blocks away silently staring, the scruffy hipsters and artists in Williamsburg getting into it, the thumping house music under a grey overpass in Long Island City, the shrill, bopping blond headed party girls crushing out of bars on the Upper East Side, the rich salsa tunes wafting through the air in East Harlem, the tough nuts hoarsely cheering in the Bronx, the uplifting brass band in Harlem, and the full menagerie of people in green and welcoming central park. It’s a blast of life.

You begin to realize it’s about celebrating the human spirit. And as we humans have our deepest roots in nature, running the race to raise money for nature is about celebrating personal connections to our planet.

We all have them. It could be anything – being happily tossed around in a roiling surf, watching pale green shoots come up in the garden, seeing an eagle soar, listening to a crowd of people go silent just as the sun dips below the horizon for another day. Everyone enjoys the gift of nature in their own way. I was happy to run a race to raise money for an organization, the Nature Conservancy, that makes sure we can continue to enjoy nature now and long into the future.

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