Not really any specific memories, just an overwhelming sense of the years all stacked up on top of one place. The early years of discovery, before I had covered the entire trail. The endless mornings with Babushka and then Taffy. The evenings seeing the same people year after year. The years that went by while I ran around in circles getting older.
It was a perfect morning to be down there–on a weekday after the rains and early joggers had came and went. Aside from more condos nearby, not much had changed on the three-mile stretch of Mopac and the foot bridge. A few young and old people were out–some kids going to a rowing class, but no families.
Really, I mostly was remembering what it was like to be discovering it for the first time, and thinking back to the early years here in Austin. It was pulling teeth to get a GF to go with me, so most of the discoveries were made by myself or with a dog. You could see the old timers who had never left, and had probably been going around and around for the past twenty years. It was almost as if you could see Austin from the 70s and 80s through their sad eyes as they ran by you. Guys like Perry Ricardo from the translation company, who wore a UT men’s basketball jersey like a dress over tiny running shorts from the 80s with his socks still hiked up to his knees. He trained for marathons and pretended that Austin hadn’t changed at all until he could pretend no more. All those guys would complain about Austin going to shit in the mid to late 90s, about the time you arrived.
But now, I get to be the old guy running around down there, remembering Austin as it was over fifteen years ago. I suppose it has changed in a lot of ways, but it doesn’t make me sad or mad or anything–I am a sojourner on this earth who probably won’t die here. I don’t know where my home is. Whatever feelings I had that made it feel like a homecoming of sorts were just those memories stacked upon one another.