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Runners and Hunters
by Terry Barlow
08/06/13
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I heard of a Kenyan runner on an airplane graciously answering the question of a curious passenger beside him who asked how the Kenyans were so successful winning Marathon races. His reply went something like this: "As we run we relax every muscle in our bodies and breathe normally. In this way we are still as we move and as we run." I waited and waded through a lot of verbiage on the part of a speaker to hear this single paradoxical account about the Kenyan marathon runners,  all of which was worth the wading and the waiting. Reminds me of the way a Tlingit friend told me that the Tlingit Natives of Alaska hunt deer and bear. They fairly float over the forest floor as if doing a kind of dance. Their prey cannot hear the crackling twigs snapping like they can when the heavier-footed white men hunt them. There are some white men though who are willing to humble themselves to learn "the dance" and become almost as proficient at it as the natives themselves, if proficient is even the right word. It's as much mental as physical, maybe even spiritual since it involves a relationship with the deer and the bear who consider it an honor if they must die at the hands of the dancing hunters, but an insult and a disgrace to be taken down by the clumsy trouncers who are like "bulls who bring their own china shops with them." I have been blessed to be in the woods with the dancers, and have seen their immense patience and stillness hour upon hour upon hour. So I observed and marvelled at the dance, but have not yet learned it for myself.



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