The alarm goes off at 5am. We leave the house at 6 and we’re on the trail by 6:30ish. Every morning as I stumble out of bed, pushing past sore muscles and rubbing sleepy eyes awake, I remind myself how lucky I am to live minutes away from beauty.
Hiking in the mountains in the early morning many days a week is my new-found superpower. Aching hips and muscle twinges aside, hiking regularly makes me feel strong in body and soul and helps me put things in perspective.
Because we walk the same section of the same trail many days of the week, I guess that makes us “regulars,” and we’re finding that there are other “regulars” out there too.
There’s The Early Guy Who Runs With His Dog. We always see him at the start of the hike. He hooks his pup to a leash and steps off the trail when he sees us coming. I always wait for his cheerful: “Have a good hike!”
We’re always on the lookout for Mr. Orange Running Shoes because he’s a stealth-runner who manages to sneak up behind us without fail. One minute we take a peek and the trail is empty. The next second we check and he materializes. All we have time for is a quick wave.
We smiled when we first met the Turkey Lady who told us that she heard wild turkeys a little bit up the trail. The second time she told us, we nodded skeptically. The third time, we dismissed her sighting outright until that day when a mother turkey and her flock of chirping chicks crossed the path right in front of us. The Turkey Lady reminds me that there is always a little unexpected magic out on the trail.
Then there’s Gary and Sue. They have a fleeting presence on the trail, coming and going with no particular rhythm. When we see them, it’s a treat.
David. Dressed in blue shorts-blue shirt-blue shoes. He’s a slow-and-steady runner who is now a steady presence in our lives. David is there every day and probably even on the days that we are not. He started it all off with an uplifting ‘hello’ and when there were about fifty hellos hanging out there between us, David introduced himself. I look for David like I look for my trail markers; a comforting and reassuring presence.
Early Guy Who Runs With His Dog. Mr. Orange Running Shoes. Turkey Lady. Gary and Sue and David. You are ‘our regulars’; our neighbors on the trail. You give us predictability and a little friendship right now when the ground beneath us feels a bit shaky. Our intertwined footsteps mark the trail.
These days, aren’t we all cobbled together into unexpected communities? Together, we’ll find the path forward.