Where Do We Come From, What Are We, Where Are We Going?

This blog has spent the Passover period training for the Boston Marathon. Training has consisted exclusively of that intensive form of carbo loading which is the consumption of loads of matza. As matza is highly constipating carbo unloading has presented a challenge. Reminiscent of Martin Luther, who struggled mightily with his bowels, the Passover observer passes little.

In short I have been busy: as a result the blog has followed the admirable maxim of the ancient Sages of the Mishna: “Do much, say little”.

Shortly the blog will have much to report: of a visit to sit at the feet of another Ancient Sage, Dr Paul Jarrett, 95-year old surgeon of Phoenix Arizona; of fetching myrrh to Jack, the new babe born unto us Goldenbergs in San Francisco; of drinking GOOD COFFEE ! in New York City!!! (at ‘Little Collins’, my nephew’s celebrated joint on Lexington Avenue); of learning the latest in neuroscience from Joseph John Mann at Columbia Presbyterian; of Shabbat observing in New Rochelle; of entraining to Boston on the Sunday; and on Monday 20 April of observing Patriots Day in Boston.

On Patriots Day much is afoot in Boston, when this Athens of the United States becomes Sparta. The public holiday commemorates the ride of Paul Revere and the start of the American Revolution. (I refer to Boston as Athens as an incubator of wisdoms but also as the place of Gauguin’s masterwork, ‘Where do we come from, what are we, where are we going?’ That painting and its title encapsulate the entire enterprise of human storytelling.
The painting is strategically located in a gallery situated directly across the road from Dunkin Donuts [Aussies must indulge the local spelling] where the donuts are certified kosher. But I digress.)

gauguin.org.au

For us runners Boston is THE marathon. More broadly, Boston, most humane of cities, hosts the most charitable of marathons. The event admits both the athletic elite and the footslogger, those who qualify by their speed over 26.2 miles and those who qualify solely by fundraising. I belong to the fundraising sluggards. This will be my fifth Boston, a further opportunity to put my feet to the service of the good. Unavoidably we come here to evil: in my old home town of Leeton a bride who loved the colour yellow is murdered unaccountably one week before her wedding day; in Boston bombs explode the innocence of thirty thousand runners and one million natives. Three die, two hundred and sixty four injured – many grievously – survive.

And I ask myself: Where do we come from, what are we, where are we going?

The small town of Leeton turns out to honour lost youth: multitudes gather in the park wearing yellow; married women hang their bridal gowns on front fences; on the victim’s planned wedding day brides all around the country add a dash of yellow to their apparel.
In Boston the city grieves, runners shake their heads, and return to the marathon with intent. Among them is one Gillian Reny.

“The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Fund at Brigham and Women’s Hospital will support life-giving breakthroughs in limb reconstruction, bone regeneration, orthopedic and plastic surgery, and skin regeneration. Established by the family of Gillian Reny—a young, pre-professional dancer who was critically injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings—the fund will fuel cutting-edge research and clinical programs in three areas:

Stepping Strong Research Scholars
: The Research Scholars project has two components: using stem cells to advance bone regeneration, and developing better methods to regenerate skin and heal wounds to reduce the suffering of amputation.  

Stepping Strong Trauma Fellowship
: The Trauma Fellowship will train the next generation of trauma surgeons in advanced techniques for treating acute and complex traumatic injury. Fellows will gain proficiency in surgical management, rehabilitation, limb reconstruction, and scar management.

Stepping Strong Innovator Awards: 
To inspire innovative research in areas including limb regeneration, limb transplant, advanced stem cell technology, orthopedic and plastic surgery, and bioengineering, BWH will offer Innovator Awards through an annual, competitive, request-for-proposal process. These awards will fund high-reward projects by our best and brightest physician-researchers.”

This is the good for which my feet will run on Monday April 20. This, like the wearing of the yellow, is the good that transcends evil. This is the good to which you can contribute. Go to:

8 thoughts on “Where Do We Come From, What Are We, Where Are We Going?

  1. What do I think?? I’ll tell you what I think! Your as mad as a hatter, silly as a wheel, a nong! drongo! and as a former Blackburn cycling club track champion and now with my both hips replaced with 3 revisions to the right hip! I bloody envy you dear Doc Howard! I’d like to be with you but alas not to be! fly like the birds dear friend, and to put just that bit more spring in your strides, I’ve made a small donation online to your worthy cause! bon voyage! xxx Bruce.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Why can everyone else contribute, but not me? With optimism in my finger tips, I tried again, with no luck. Well, I’ll be the wind at your back on the day.

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  3. Dear Howard,

    I thought of you when I first heard of the tragedy of Leeton. How does one grieve for a town in grief? I wish her family, you and Leeton long life. I hope, too that Leeton and the justice system does not leap into revenge mode as I have seen the media turn into a wild pack about the alleged murderer.

    My kindest wishes

    Ron

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  4. As a former Marathon runner pulled up short by a chronic back I can only envy your contribution in Boston. You and your offsider also suggested I give up the bike, but no chance! And yes the world is a dynamic and oft cruel place but we do have the ability to rise above the clouds and fly as I sometimes feel on the Malvern Star.
    I didn’t realise that Little Collins was your relative as I read of it in the Age a few weeks back.
    Say hello to my Lubavitcher brethren in their brownstones.
    Brian Erskine (Sneorson) Mildura.

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  5. My boyfriend at University played Luther in the Osborne play and it featured him ‘struggling mightily’. Hope the marathon is truly uplifting. I am very impressed with your fundraising so far, and hope it goes onwards and upwards.

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