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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Running in Memphis: Remembering Jeff Buckley

As I sit at my desk in Downtown Memphis, I can't ignore the excruciating pain pulsating through my left leg, the leftover effects of two hard runs this week, one of which was speed repeats over the very steep Auction Avenue Bridge to Mud Island. The bridge is short; it connects Downtown to Mud Island over the Wolf River Harbor. But it is fairly steep as it has to allow for barge and boat traffic to clear.

Anyway, I was doing this run a few days ago at sunset. I love sunsets – beaches, rivers, flat farmland – anywhere that shows the sun dipping below the horizon without obstructions. Memphis has great sunsets, just not a lot of vantage points to enjoy them. The peak of the Auction Avenue Bridge, however, certainly is one of them.

The reason I bring up Jeff Buckley is as I sit at my desk, Buckley’s music just randomly came up on my iPod, giving me my second reminder of that run. See, that harbor has much to do with the singer/songwriter who had only months before his death in 1997 moved to Memphis.

It was on this run a few days ago that I was reminded of Buckley while looking down at the water below. It was in those waters that Buckley, who was fully dressed and swimming in the harbor, disappeared. His body was found several days later. His drowning brought to an end the career of a brilliant musician.

I know you might be wondering how these random thoughts on running, the brilliant sunset over the Mississippi River and the greatness of Jeff Buckley have anything to do with local travel. I guess to me being a local traveler also means traveling within one’s city. I’m unable to travel nearly as much as I would like, but I’m blessed to live in a city that draws – I venture to guess – millions of visitors a year. It’s moments like this week’s when I could step out of my Downtown office, run a few blocks away and experience a brilliant sunset over the Mighty Mississippi that makes me glad I can be a local traveler in my hometown.

I encourage you to find those local experiences wherever you call home.

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