Monday, January 7, 2013
Secrets of the Trails
Every morning I see them. They don't know I see them, but I do. I see them and I smile. I see them getting out of their cars by the side of the road, all bundled up. I see them pushing their gloved hands against their cars as they stretch tight calves encased in lycra. I see their breath pulsing out into the cold air.
In the spring and summer I lose sight of them, but in the winter, between the naked trees, I glimpse them. Some walk vigorously with their fluffy, drooling, panting dogs, determined to do double duty as they exercise themselves and their best friend. Others dance at the stop light, watches stopped but fingers hovering, prepped to re-start them as soon as the light changes and their feet take flight once more into the safety of the trails. Rosy cheeked older women in knit caps and zipped fleeces chatter and smile to each other, grateful to have someone there to walk with, to converse with for even a chilly hour, to hold them accountable for getting out of their warm homes so early, if at all.
The old man is there again. The cold does not deter him. He avoids the trails, sticking to the sides of the road as he makes his way to work. Bundled in a black overcoat and topped with a dapper hat, he trundles along over roots and twigs, relishing the precious moments he can escape into his imagination before propping himself up at the front of the classroom, alert and capable of answering questions meant to increase knowledge, but also able to deflect those meant to sideline the lesson.
These people. Cold hands. Blood flowing to their faces, through their legs. Tingly legs. One foot in front of the other. Steadying into their rhythm. Some lost in thought, some sharing pleasantries. Some grinning in ecstasy or pain, some crying in ecstasy or pain. Some determined to beat themselves into shape, some determined to beat their personal best. These people. Lives placed on hold and yet unfolding.
Every morning I see them. They don't know I see them, but I do. I see them and I smile. I have been them. I will be them yet. I am them still.
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