“I never put up a sign or even gave my office an official name. I didn’t have to. The building was already called, ‘the law office’. That was its name since it was constructed. Fort James had little written history. Its history lived and breathed and passed down in its people. After I had been doing my law practice there a while, ‘the law office’ began to be called, Ginger Dakota’s or just Dakota’s as if that was how my law office was clearly marked on a map, yet it was so only in the minds of the locals.
The law office, my law office was at the end of the long sided city square in the midst of the town. The main road came up from the river banks about a mile, climbed a hill onto the flatland, made a few swerves and dips, passed some housing, a large graveyard, and then it passed an old church and finally it passed a handful of other businesses, went by my office and then out toward the schools and more houses before it hurried on out of town again. Drivers from other places have never seen much reason to slow down when they go through Fort James.
When I am not in my office or in court, I am off running somewhere. If I could have done it, I guess it would have been better to have lived my life in a straight line. You know, like, starting from a place of darkness and going out of it by logical steps through trials and emptiness and into the bright light of the clearing which is Heaven. Like taking the high road from a place of despair and danger, through hardships and toil, avoiding the snares to finally cross over the river of death and entering the Pearly Gates. But that is not how I have lived my life so far, not even how I am as a runner.
I am a distance runner, but my running has been wandering and unrecorded for the most part. Often what has looked like a straight path to me has been running in circles around a track or a doubling back and forth from one side of town to the other. I have been lost, failed to find the easy path from the dark woods a few times. The names of dangers and snares have been made known to me, but only as I have looked back at them. Often I did not know where I was running until I was already there. I have had my share of victories and plateaus, but my runs have come to me or I have gone out to them mainly by way of habit and surprise. Often as in my life, I have received more from running than I deserved. I am an ignorant runner, crossing a busy street in the darkness. And yet, looking back, always I have been protected and somehow led, yes, always led.”