vol stare toad race
a lonely figure moves beside the road.
from a distance
it might be a mailbox.
but as we get closer it grows into a lonely figure
we have seen them for hours now,
they have been scattered along the last 130 miles of road.
each the same.
some move forward with an efficient rhythm
eating the ground
some limp along
many seem to walk delicately
mincing steps with feet that do not want to touch the ground.
closer and we can see that they have tried to cover the exposed flesh.
if the moving figure can resemble a mailbox.
the ones in repose beneath a shade tree
look most like random piles of trash.
as we close the final yards the faces come into view.
there is no eye contact.
they exist in a different plane.
they note the car to be sure it does not intersect their path
but to those lonely figures
the people inside the car are alien beings.
part of a different world.
and so you can study the faces for a brief moment.
many are grim.
staring into empty distance.
some eyes are down.
watching the white line
but slowly past.
the faces can be expressionless
or masks of pain.
but all have seemed set
locked in a quest for some unseen goal.
they are vol staters.
for two days and two nights they have moved beside the road.
in this dawn of the third morning
the other life they once lived is but a distant memory.
this is what they do.
this is who they are.
they are not mailboxes
nor are they piles of trash
they are vol staters
(or maybe a little bit feral dogs)
the top 3 came thru the night in perfect formation.
john is at 185 miles
15 miles from john to johan.
10 more to steve…
but those have now separated from the peter and paul duo.
they are now 13 miles behind steve.
(if there had been a mary to complete the trio they could have hung on)
ariela has taken charge of the womens division.
she is, quite simply, a relentless force on the road.
at 144 miles she is now 10 miles in front of abby,
with kimberly another 4 miles back…
of course, this is the vol state.
there remain hundreds of miles to be run.
still those 2 mountains at the last.
even the leaders face another long day
and another even longer night
before they will be able to smell the barn.
a lot can happen out on the open road.
nothing is decided yet…
and then there is that second race at the back.
the race with oprah.
the race to make it at all.
3 runners trail oprah after two days.
their races are on life support.
they have to show something in the heat of the day
or the meat wagon will carry them from the field.
and so the magnificent journey continues,