The Duel


Just like you, I’ve watched this race unfold all across the Northland, from the foothills of Takotna to the coast of the Bering Sea, from the beating heart of the interior to the frozen ends of the world.

And I have been held spellbound, welded to my computer screen as surely as if I had grown there centuries before.

I am awestruck by the duel that has rippled through that cold majesty, a battle waged by seemingly mythical beings like the sons and daughters of Norse legend–a battle so enduring in its grueling intensity that it seems as if it has been going on for all time and will continue to do so for an age yet to come, because that is what happens when characters such as these pit the mitochondria of millennia against one another in such an epic struggle.

You will note that my language has slowly shifted over the last few days–I beg your indulgence, for I am simply trying to help put into perspective the conflict that has shaped the Iditarod in its closing hours, to help you understand the true accomplishment of these legendary characters.

I have no crystal ball–I have no idea who is going to win this one. But I do know that Ramey and John have both fought such a fight the tale of which will be handed down to the next generations in hushed tones around the campfire of ages as an example of two Makers who both had the same dream and put all they ever had on the line to make theirs more real than the other’s–and while they were doing so, the world held its breath and watched.

During this night, the last act will play out and these two will strike their final blows against the other’s shield, and only the morning will reveal the victor.

Regardless of who throws the other down, John and Ramey are both gods of this sport, and their duel will be remembered for as long as we value such thing as heroic champions.

Bless both of them now and forever.

3-14-2011

Jason Barron, author of Ballad of the Northland

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8 Responses to “The Duel”

  1. Marlene Phillips-Daniels Reply March 14, 2011 at 23:50

    Oh I wish it could be a dead heat— an absolute tie.

  2. I have so much respect for these two -the whole top ten for that matter. You are able to put respect into words that are deep enough to capture the awesomeness of this experience.

  3. Your words sing the “dog song”, thanks!

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