Turn the Radio On and Listen to the Indy 500

62  bar falls 29.74 2mph NW dew-point 35 Beltane, Sunny

                      Full Hare Moon

Memorial Day is this weekend and we’re still stuck back in early April.  I can recall other chilly Memorial Days, but none with the degree of regular cool air this year has had.

Since it’s Memorial Day, that means it’s Indy 500 time.  I’ll watch again this year.  The race used to take a liesurely 3-4 hours to run, now it routinely finishes between 2-3.  Though I found growing up in Indiana a strange experience, it left two indelible marks on my character.  I’m still fascinated with those big guys bouncing the orange ball up and down a hardwood floor.  I’m also ready, every Memorial Day, to turn into race fan for a day.

I only went to the race once, with my Dad, in the early 60’s or late 50’s.  The Novi engine was a Dual Overhead Cam Supercharged V8 engine, a monster driven by Jim Hurtubise.  As it came out of the fourth curve, Hurtubise would hit the accelerator for the long main straightaway.  The supercharger would kick in and an internal combustion growl would echo off the seats and reverberate until the car was well past the starting line over half a mile away.  All of us who love the race, loved that engine.  It never won, not once, but it was thing of beauty. 

Most Memorial Days I would go out to the family car with crackers and cheese, comic books and a coke.  I would turn on the radio and settle in to listen.  For the month leading up to the race the Indianapolis Star carried detailed sports page coverage and I saved those pages, too, including them in my cache.  I especially liked the rainy days when I could sit in the car, sheltered from the weather and listen to the roar of the engines as the cars hurtled around the track.

China.  Burma.  A 7.9 earthquake.  A major cyclone with another brewing in the waters of the Indian Ocean.  Unimaginable suffering.  No.  Wait.  Katrina.  Iraq.  Not unimaginable, just far away.  Burma has Pagan, a city with 2,500 Buddhist temples.  It has Mandalay where the flying fishes play.  It has Rangoon, home of a gold topped stupa.  It also has a paranoid junta, more concerned with power than the people.  China’s Sichuan region, home to fiery foods and a unique brand of Chinese culture, mountains (the shan) and proximity to a collision between the Indian tectonic plate and the Pacific.  The folding creates the shan in China and the Himalayas.  It also slips, the enormous pressures of the earth’s mantle put out of joint and indescribable power releases, a spring in the expected stability of the ground on which we walk.

There are advantages to a spot near the center of the North American tectonic plate, far from either the Atlantic or the Pacific.

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