On New Year’s Day, as I treated myself to a day of rest, I went to the nature trail to breathe in fresh air and move my body. As it turns out, too much sitting and reading at home cramps your legs, just like sitting on an airplane.
When I left the house, Chad gave me the usual “be safe” warning. He reminded me to only stop if there were a lot of people there. I assured him there would be, everyone keeping their New Year’s resolution to exercise more.
As suspected, when I stepped onto the trail, there were many families walking and biking together. There was also the occasional runner, and I wondered if/when I’d start jogging again. It was mid-afternoon, the sun just starting its slow descent toward the horizon.
I soon walked up behind a young couple and their toddler son – two years old, maybe – taking a leisurely stroll. I crossed to the left side to pass but almost tripped over the boy, who abruptly stopped in front of me.
“Oh, sorry!” I said to his parents and shifted my weight. “Stoppage.”
They laughed. The mom said, “He’s so spontaneous and can’t make up his mind. We never know what he’s going to do next.”
“I get it,” I said with a smile and kept walking.
Now behind me, I overheard the dad say to the mom, “Him being spontaneous is tough (for us) now, but when he gets older, it’ll be a good thing.”
I silently agreed.
The creek that runs beside the trail was full, the melody that played as water rushed over rock, inviting. A worn pathway led off the trail to a clearing at the water’s edge, just large enough for one or two people. I started in that direction but others beat me to it.
Soon, another set of voices approached, their walking pace a little faster than mine. Another couple, discussing travel plans for the year.
“If we’re going to go to Europe, we need to stay at least a week or two. I’d really like to visit Scotland,” she said.
“Yeah,” he said, a hint of excitement in his voice, “I’ll take you there.”
His simple response tugged at my heart. Taking her to Scotland would be a gift – one he was eager to give.
They passed by on my left. It was interesting to see the faces that went with the voices, not matching what I envisioned. Probably similar to being a judge on The Voice.
Time almost disappeared as I walked, though I kept occasional watch so I’d know when to head back to the trailhead. The turnaround spot was mid-hill, my heart rate up and calves burning.
On my left, the path to the creek-side clearing came into view again, but this time, no one was there. The thought of standing near the water made me so happy. Just a few more steps.
Suddenly, on the opposite side of the trail, a father and son rode up on bikes. For a few seconds I had hope they’d keep going, but the boy was drawn to the path like a magnet.
I exhaled. What a treat for them, though, especially the boy. I’d wait for another day.
More voices behind me. One was loud, piercing the air.
“I feel like my whole life just changed!” he said. “If we can run for an entire year, we’ll be so much healthier!”
Yes, I thought, almost laughing over his enthusiasm. I’m sure you would be.
The trailhead appeared around the corner. I was tired but in a good way, grateful for making the trip.
I left more hopeful than when I arrived, too.