Today is the last Sunday of May and, thus Marathon Sunday here in Burlington; today’s run, a yearly ritual, marks the transition to summer. It is a lovely early summer day, a high, cloud-flecked sky dominating the horizon. Such days are welcome now, after weeks of rain, especially as the week ahead looks to be soggy.
Next door a robin sits atop our neighbor’s chimney, busily defending his territory from all comers. The early morning light illumines his red-orange breast, which he thrusts forward just enough to announce his fierce determination.
It is just past seven, so the marathoners have been launched. Until this year the race began at eight but climate change has brought an increased risk, and experience of, hot days; the race organizers have adjusted accordingly.
We will soon head down to the lake end of our street to watch the first racers, always in wheelchairs, pass by. From there the weary runners begin the last, mostly gently downhill, leg of the race. Usually we see friends and colleagues pass by; we wave, and if they notice us, they wave or nod, then continue, one foot before the other, along their way.