Another hot, sticky morning. Listened to “Dear Evan Hansen” running south, so I don’t remember much about the first half of the run, except waving at the older man sitting on the seat on his walker at the edge of the trail. I’ve seen him before — in fact, I knew I had written about him before, so I searched my log. Here’s what I found from sept 12, 2022:
For a few months, I’ve noticed an older white man with white hair and a white beard (at least, I think he has a beard), using a walker when I run south on the river road. Sometimes he’s using the walker to help him walk pretty swiftly along the trail, and sometimes he’s using it as a chair. Today, we was sitting. We greeted each other as I ran by. He’s a friendly guy. It makes me happy to see him out there, continuing to walk with a walker, enjoying the beautiful trail. I think I’ll call him Mr. Walker.from log entry on 12 sept 2022
Mr. Walker is too boring of a name. I think I’ll call him Mr. Walker Sitter instead. My happiness about his still walking had something to do with my hope that Scott’s parents would use their walkers and get out in the world. I wrote these lines less than 3 weeks before Scott’s mom died. I don’t think we knew she would be dead by the end of the month — that understanding came a week later.
When I reached the 44th street parking lot, I ran down the hill to the south entrance to the Winchell Trail where I encountered 2 walkers.
me, approaching 2 walkers: Excuse me. Right behind you.
a kind woman looks back, and moves out of the way: Oh, sorry, didn’t see you — you’re so quiet!
me, slowly passing: No worries. Thanks.
I always marvel at other people’s ability to speak in gentle, kind tones in situations like these, to have a default of being relaxed and open to others even when they’re surprised. I’m sure it comes naturally to some, and it might have for me when I was younger, but now I see it as an achievement and a goal.
Heard: the water falling out of the sewer pipe and down the ravine at 42nd, kids playing at the school playground, some loud talkers up above, some sort of banging across the river, on a pipe, at a construction site?
Avoided: thick, slick mud on the part of Winchell right before the oak savanna that always gets muddy in the spring. It happens so often that people have created a sort detour above it that curves through some tree. As I walked it new leaves brushed my arm
Forgot: to check the river for rowers. Scott spotted some the other day.
Mary Ruefle “On Fear” and “In the Forest”
Before I went out running, I skimmed through “In the Forest” and started “On Fear.” I planned to try and think about my fears as I ran on the more isolated Winchell Trail, but after encountering the kind woman walker at the entrance to the trail, I couldn’t imagine being afraid. Now writing this, I got distracted — I needed to eat, then start the dishes — and I’ve run out of time. Maybe later today I’ll try to read more of “On Fear” and add in some things from “In the Forest.”