I am putting this here, now, so that you can see what it was I did today. What it was I learned today. And with this thing, learned, a thing you’ve probably already learned and which, in theory, even I sort of knew before, though in a hazy kind of way, I have surprised myself. My world has grown bigger, even at this lamentably late date.
For nine years – no, let me be honest here, for eight years ten months – I have run the three-mile perimeter track at Rice University. Three or four times a week, the same track, in the same direction, passing the same trees, the same driveways and, more often than not, the same people.
Three or four times a week for eight years ten months is, if you bother to sit down and work it out, more than one thousand six hundred thirteen times, which is a lot. It is as much as I’ve done anything.
But today, on the occasion of my one thousand six hundred fourteenth time around the Rice track, a voice came to me and it thundered inside of my head, “Harry, why don’t you cross the street?”
I have never crossed the street, never considered such a thing. I have never gotten off the track, but today, after the voice and all, I got off the track.
I crossed the street.
And across the street, much to my surprise, was a four hundred fifty acre park, resplendent with ponds and ducks and boats and an outside amphitheater and a zoo… and with miles upon miles of fantastic jogging trails.
If you had come to me, yesterday, and if you had said to me, “Harry, I want to go to the zoo. How do I get there?” I believe that I would have given you reasonably good directions. I have, after all, lived in Houston for thirty-five years. I’ve had a vague sense that there were things, you know, over there, across the street from the place where I run. You would have come back to me, later on, maybe right this instant, and you would have said, “Harry, I followed your directions to the zoo and they were good! They led me right there!”
So how is it I’ve been running around in a circle for the better part of a decade now, when, unbeknownst to me, only fifty feet away, there’s existed a world of much bigger, better, and far more aesthetically engaging jogging trails?
It is as though I’ve been taking guitar lessons from my drunk and twitchy, one-armed Uncle Sammy on a fucking ukulele while just outside my door, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Django Reinhardt, and Tom Morello have been secretly jamming…
…for nine years.
Well, for eight years ten months.
So okay then, who’s been keeping Hermann Park a secret from me?