Friday, September 6, 2013

The Red Lantern

Have you heard of the Iditarod? It a race by dogsled in the Alaska over 1100 plus miles.  It starts in  a little town called Willow and finishes a couple of degrees short of the arctic circle. At that latitude, the wind doesn't just bite, it devours.

A widows lamp hangs near the finish line. It remains lit as long as there are still teams on the trail. When the last team crosses the finish line, the lamp is extinguished. The Iditarod doesn't end until all competitors are off the trail.

A team consists of one or two humans (usually one) and sixteen dogs. To win, the humans have to get their dogs to trust them. Fundamentally, it's a team sport. The humans can't do it alone.

Each team to finish gets a brass buckle and a patch. The last team to finish gets a red lantern. It's a sign of respect for having the strength to plunge on through freezing wind and snow to a distant place.

I don't think I will ever be awarded a red lantern. I'm not good at finishing things, not even blog posts. It's one of my fatal character flaws.

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