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November 26, 2007


I think for myself, the best way to start off with the illumination project (assignment sounded much too obligitory) is to try and define illiumination, what the word means to me, and how I process 'illuminations.' When I first tried thinking of illuminations that I have come across, I was a loss for times when I had experienced such a feeling, which is what let to my having to define it for myself. So I start with my best attempt at explaining what an illumination is to me:

An illumination is: an idea that captivates my mind, something that I never considered before or something I thought wholely impossible.

An illumination is: Something that, given the context of the situation, rises above what would normally be expected

An illumination is: A visual display that not only draws attention, but begs for additional consideration, and sticks in the mind

An illumination is: A moment where a significant realization, good or bad, but best defined by a realization that opens the door for most possibilities in the future to consider things beyond the expected

So, over the past week since the last time I was in class, I started to compile a mental list of things that I found illuminating, and will be sharing them in subsequent posts.

My first illumination that I am choosing to share came on Thanksgiving morning. I was at home in Canton, Oh, where it was a not too toasty 35 F outside, which can be a very hard environment to experience an illumination in, which makes it all the better that I did.

This Thanksgiving morning was the 11th annual Perry Rotary (Perry is the township I live in, and the high school I attended) Turkey Trot. So why would a Turkey Trot, a 5k to be exact, be illuminating? If you've ever been to a cross country race, you might know. In all my experiences of different sporting events, its the only one where everyone is cheered for, there is no negative cheering (against another team), everyone that finishes is congratulated by the spectators, and thus, my illumination.

On the cold Thursday morning, each of the roughly 1200 runners was congratulated by the group of spectators (myself being a spectator, and we were far outnumbered by the participants), from the runners sprinting to a finish after a short 16 minutes, or the slower, yet still determined joggers/walkers that started funneling in after a half hour. Each was greeted the same, with no more congratulations for the winner, and no less for the people struggling, but determined to finish. To be part of and experience such a positive event on such a cold and dreary was truly illuminating. To see a sporting event that so sharply contrasted those which we are used to was illuminating, and for anyone who has not been to a race, I suggest standing at the finish line of one at your next opportunity.

Posted by ndjames at November 26, 2007 05:08 PM


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