Human Stories

This morning, my mind stays with The Lapse podcast “best of episode” from Kyle Gest’s second year as solo-podcaster. All four stories he picked as his best of editions were remarkable. Each one in some ways deeply disturbing.

The first one I already discussed in my previous post; Will and his quadruple amputee journey resulting from a horrific bacteria that came about through a simple but painful cramp in his leg. Will’s journey one of discovery through devastation and of note his ability to soldier on through it all.

The second story is about a man that owns and manages his shop inside a mall somewhere in the UK and while working at the register, he barely sees out of the side of his visions, an image falling from one of the top floors of the mall, past his floor and landing with a loud thud on the floor way below on the ground level. The thud sounds like a very loud bag of sand has just landed. There is barely a reaction from people milling about, likely due to the horrific nature of what they just witnessed; all are in shock. This shop owner goes to take a look over the railing and discovers that the image that fell was actually a teenage kid. Kyle’s episode takes us through the aftermath of what is deemed a suicide. And then, this shop owner shares that death for him became obvious all around him; people seemed to be dying on a regular basis. Accidents. More suicides. Many scenarios; almost like the grim reaper is walking beside him.  To lighten things up, the narrator of this story shares that he would caution people to be careful in standing next to him. One would never know who would be next. Through this, the man is haunted by the loud thud,  he hears it in dreams.  When he closes his eyes, he sees the face of the boy lying on the floor.   There is angst in this episode, confusion and frustration.

The third episode is about Jennifer Purdie, a marathon runner who considers herself to be a hobbyist runner; not a professional runner. The episode covers one particular marathon, a massive challenge and journey: The Antarctica Marathon. She trains for three years. Every day, she runs nine miles and then runs up and down major hills. She describes their boat trip down from Argentina through Drake’s Passage, and how they survive most of the four days of 39 foot waves and massive sickness resulting in dehydration and under-nourishment. In some cases they had to seatbelt themselves into their berths so they wouldn’t be thrown around the cabins. I experienced a very small version of this type of boat throw in my cruise on the west coast of Greenland a few years back; believe this waves were not nearly half the size of those she is describing. This is not a great way to start a marathon in Antarctica. The marathon itself is not just grueling, it is brutal. Some runners break hips, wrists and a few are air lifted out. It’s an understatement to say that this is a challenge. Conditions are beyond scary and quickly changing with sideways blizzard rain at some points. In one instance, this runner gets sucked into a mud hole and can’t get out. She is there alone for about twenty minutes, as she had fallen behind and no runners are happening upon her. She rewinds her memory to an episode of survival on TV and remembers a use of a stick to get oneself out of quick sand. She has no stick. She has a water bottle. And she utilizes some of the technique she remembers from the TV episode, and successfully gets herself out of the mud hole. Now, covered in mud, feels like she is carrying a load of weight and she presses on. And in this moment, she has not even gotten to the glacier yet. This episode covers this gal’s first Antarctica Marathon and she shares her goal of being the youngest woman to accomplish two 6 continent marathons. So, she says she will be back and she does not look forward to it.


My mind moves into a place of wonder: people’s lives. It’s fascinating to me how we all choose different paths, our minds and bodies select journeys and they are varied. One person might choose to accumulate travel experience all around the globe. Another trains every single day to run marathons. Another discovers early on that he or she likes looking through microscopes and figuring things out scientifically. And yet another is content to ride a motorcycle for miles and miles and miles, with no end in sight; just the birds overhead, maybe mountains in the distance and time, lots of time. And then there is the person who scavengers for minutes each day to put down words on paper (or type words on a screen), satisfied to produce stories. Fascinated with the process of analysis of ideas, which can turn into a different path in the future. Changing our realities through intention and purpose. Better than sitting on a couch and numbing ourselves through binge TV. Although, there can be a purpose in that as well; a stage in the journey, or maybe just a step.

Next time, Where is Violet?

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