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Letter from Rome - Monday June 4, 2012
Written by Jay Fares   
Monday, 04 June 2012 13:20

Letter from Rome - Monday June 4, 2012

Yesterday while on vacation in Rome my wife and I visited the Borghese Palace which houses a great collection of art from the Renascence and Baroque period. We had visited the same palace five years ago, but this time we wanted to focus on the works of two geniuses of their time Caravaggio and Bernini.

In our previous visit I was struck by Bernini's sculpture depicting the Rape (or abduction) of Proserpina by the master of the underworld Pluto. Bernini was only 23 when he completed this sculpture and it brings to life the moment of the abduction and struggle between the two of them. Proserpina's hand pushing against Pluto's face, creasing his skin, while Pluto's fingers sink into the flesh of her thigh.

This time I was more struck by the sculpture depicting the story of Apollo and Daphne with Apollo chasing after Daphne and Daphne calling on her father to save her from Apollo by transforming her into a laurel tree. The sculpture depicts this exact moment of metamorphosis with Apollo's hand touching Daphne in the area already covered by tree bark and leaves growing from her fingers and roots extending from her toes into the marble base. Notice from the picture that Apollo is running and this is the first time you see a marble sculpture depicting motion to such a degree. Notice that Apollo's leg is just hanging there free from any support. I stared and stared at his leg with the sandals he wore which were perfectly fitting and would have been great for running.

I came back to my hotel with the image of Apollo's foot as masterfully depicted by Bernini accompanying me. It came with me to dinner, it climbed up the stairs with me and haunted me in my dreams. I woke up early this morning ready for the chase but in reality on the treadmill in the hotel gym at level -2.

Teresa went to the pool and I headed to the gym. When I arrived all the treadmills were occupied, so I went on the orbital machine for 45 minutes which gave me a good workout, but I was still dissatisfied.

Then one of the treadmills became available, so I immediately went on it. No sooner than five minutes while on it, then the most amazing experience happened to me. There it was on the flat screen TV in front of me a Marathon being carried on Euro Sport from Stockholm, Sweden.

The Camera man must have been on a motorcycle, as he was ahead of the lead athlete by just feet tracking his every move. What a superb runner he must have been and he looked Kenyan to me. He was ahead of everyone and running in the rain. I cranked my treadmill speed up and decided to run with him. He was going and I was going - I was becoming him.

Oh what an exciting race, and I was participating in it. I could go for hours like this and not get tired. He was going with still no one in sight. He was wearing a red T-shirt and pinkish shoes, not very coordinated I thought. As usual, the toilet bowel commercial comes on and I had to drop back to reality. As soon as it was over, the chase was on again and I carried on with him.

He was my hero, then the camera zoomed out and there was another man behind him (and me), he was European looking with blue shirt and yellow-green shoes. He was gaining fast on the black man and he overtook him by about 20 meters. All of a sudden my hero was not my hero, I was questioning his determination. That other Euro guy did not look as fit, but was tougher mentally. All of a sudden the European man goes under an arched large entrance and the camera comes from the other side uncovering a large stadium where spectators are watching over the finish line. This guy comes in to the finish line and is met by two women in traditional outfits holding the wreath of victory. They place it around his neck and he kneels down and kisses the ground. He must have been running for the glory of his country.

The camera zooms out and focuses on the strong black man who was my hero for the majority of the race - his face looked shattered and his spirit broken, although he came second.

By this time I could not run any more and my muscles were hurting everywhere.

I thank the Roman God Apollo (Greek Phoebus) "the radiant one" for shining on me this morning.

Keep on running....

Miss you guys!

Last Updated on Monday, 04 June 2012 13:49
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