There’s a gal in my neighborhood who walks every day, rain or shine, down Olympic Highway. Olympic Highway isn’t really a highway in town; just a main thoroughfare. It has a pedestrian walk on one side of the concrete median. She trudges along in raingear. She hikes with purpose through the damp, foggy mornings. Sometimes she’s in a purple fleece coat. Other times she’s wearing a bright neon raincoat, hood up.
She used to come to kettlebells. She and I had the same silver, purple and gold Asics (GT-2170, if you’re wondering. Still my favorite running shoes). Mine I used for running, hers for urban hiking. We struck up a slight, shoe-based acquaintance. Then she quit.
“Susan, I couldn’t take the music!” she whispered to me one time, shaking her blonde-gray curls in consternation. Well, it is an acquired taste. Ozzy and ACDC and Poison and such. But I can’t imagine swinging a huge metal object to Bach or Mozart. Not happening.
Sometimes I pass her and her husband as they traverse the way, me running up and them striding down. We smile and say hello, waving through the Shelton dew.
“Don’t you get tired of the same route all the time?” I asked her once. “I lose motivation running the same route over and over. Gets incredibly boring.” True story.
“Oh no,” she told me. “I just get on autopilot and go. I don’t have to think about it,” she smiled. “Besides, my husband buys me a coffee every morning at Starbucks and it’s waiting for me when I arrive.”
Pretty good gig. Pretty great husband, I think.
I saw her this morning after class, heading down the hill. Rain, then hail, poured down on her. Now it was my turn to smile as I drove past . She carried a bunch of pink rhododendron blossoms in her hand. They bobbed along in time with her steps. Her walk has become a meditation to her, a daily habit of movement and thought and processing. I understood.