I walk/run three days during the week—Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays—plus Saturdays and Sundays. I’m somewhat very regimented about it, which translates to a fairly consistent departure time. Couple the CDT with my fairly consistent pace, my consistent choice of music, and my consistent route (which only changes on the weekends when I add 1.5 miles) and you get a workout that enables me to reduce the variables and focus on the particulars. This system is good for my science-y brain—I like to create a “control” against which to evaluate new data (the chronos against which kairos can emerge? the background against which the pattern emerges?—whatever, choose your metaphor.)
One of the patterns I’ve been noticing recently is less a variable per se and more part of the control, but I wouldn’t have noticed had I not seen it day after day after day.
The white-haired, stoutish man with glasses, walking his two small terriers, who smiles and waves at me without fail; the youngish man waiting at the bus stop; the admins in the optician’s office, pulling files for the day; the men at the old-school auto-body, enjoying a morning smoke; the school busses waiting, the woman who walks faster than me yet has shorter legs, the man at the bagel shop sitting in the same seat near the window every day, the young woman eating her McDonald’s before work at the fabric store.
I’m not exactly sure what I want to say about this phenomenon, other than to wonder if others experience the same patterns. Also, I wonder: who are these people? What are their lives like? Do they notice me, too? Do they realize we share these repeated moments on the space/time grid???
On most days, I spend my walk/run/observation sessions making mental notes about the flora and foliage. If anyone asked me why I get up to walk/run, I would explain my need to “check in” on everyone’s garden. Seriously. If too many days go by I worry that I’ll miss someone’s lilies blooming, or, now, that the beautiful locust leaves will drop before I get my fill of their perfectly uniform golden ovals. Until yesterday, I was obsessed with a series of small trees that line a street. The leaves have gone from green to gold to gone, leaving huge crimson berries against brown branches.
Lately, I’ve been running in anticipation of seeing these people, these markers. Will they be there? Will they be doing their things?
And that’s all I’ve got. I’m not writing, knitting, or reading. I’m teaching, administrating, and searching. And running.
(I always wave and smile back at the man. Seeing him brightens my day, no matter what.)