Monday, July 27, 2009


Earlier in the summer, some weeks ago, I started taking regular walks in the evenings. They started as rambling strolls through a local park. I got a pedometer and was excited to see how far I could walk, further than I realized I could comfortably walk. Then I started timing my walks and was more thrilled to discover how briskly I could walk. I try each evening to either meet my personal mark or exceed it, whether the walk is 2 miles, 3 miles, or 4 miles.

On these walks, I started seeing some familiar faces--the mother and father with the child carriers on the backs of their bikes, the son on dad's bike, daughter on mom's. The joggers. The husband and wife; he never waves, but she waves in spite of the walking stick she's got propped behind her head with her arms drooped over it.

They come and go. I don't see them every night I go out there, due in part to a number of factors--sometimes I only get out a few nights a week, sometimes I rush at the last minute and finish just at the cusp of dark, and other nights I head out early. But I see one guy just about every night I'm out there. He's a bit of an older gentleman, greying hair, always in the same almost-uniform--white T-shirt, black shorts, black sneakers, sunglasses and baseball cap. He seems grim, or perhaps just determined, perhaps out walking to ward off the threat of a heart attack. He never waved back when I did as we inevitably passed.

Until a week ago or so. I've been trying to build running into my routine. 45 seconds, and I'm winded. On a good spell, I can hit a bit over a minute before I have to stop. On one such evening, we crossed paths, him walking steadily, me running and running out of steam at that. I raised a hand in acknowledgment as I passed. I don't know what changed things, but now when we pass, he raises his right hand in a half wave.

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