Rat Race

Sometimes it’s better to remain in the dark.

I’ve always enjoyed running in the pre-dawn hours, and though I always wear a headlamp, I seldom turn it on.

The darkness is where I’m most comfortable while running, and there’s great peace and beauty found at that time of day. There’s nothing like pounding the pavement on a clear, cool morning with no wind. Sometimes the moon is out, throwing a sharp shadow on the road as you trudge along. On days like that you can hear things more clearly and odors of wood smoke and pine linger in the air. It’s inspiring and fills you with energy.

And then you kick something on the road, and you’re like, “Oh, fuck.”

My years of experience have taught me that when you stumble across a soft object on a dark road, it’s never a bag full of money, no, it’s usually a dead critter.

This happened recently, and when I switched on the headlamp, a plump rat was revealed. It was a healthy looking creature who must have come from the fields that line the road. I’m guessing he was killed by another animal, rather than struck by a car, because he was in very good shape — very good shape for a dead rat, that is.

Your very first thought at this moment is to see if there’s anything on your shoe, such as blood or other rat residue. No? Thank God for that.

Oh, well, switch off the light and move along. With many miles ahead and behind, you’re bound to trip over a rat or two sooner or later

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