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July 1, 2012, vol 8, no 2

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Jim Sullivan


My kids have signed me up for the event, a walk/run for some charity or other. The fog hugs the ground at the start line and the dew on the grass soaks through my running shoes. I am walking, not running any more. Standing far from the front line there is nervous chatter

I talk to a programmer doing odd bits of code for consulting companies – a living but not a life. Sure I know what she means. She has a way of abruptly shifting herself in and out of conversations, like a bell tolling at odd hours. She has no care for puddles or mud on the trail - just the twitch into and out of the conversation.

A carpenter holds my attention with his talk of rabbet joints and dovetail joints. He is tall and has the required flannel shirt over jeans. He walks fast and with a purpose. I envy that.

A walker approaches on my right, a kindly man with an open smile. We meet and talk; he is a cook and maker of tinctures. I don't know that word and he explains about homemade mountain medicine and how he steeps herbs and barks and plants in vodka. The right moon helps the brew. Good for what ails you - a kindly druid in running shoes and sporting a mullet.

Is it okay to walk alone in a big event like this? Do I always need to be engaged with someone and act like the salesman of the year?

Two teens pass me with a very brisk walk. They are not looking or aware of others or the landscape. I look down to see if either wears flip-flops, but no. The boy is talking animatedly about writing. He loves plays with all their raw emotions and dialogue, and someday he will write clear and strong and sail words around the moon. The girl with the long stride looks like she is not sure.

We finally arrive at the cathedral parking lot. My kids congratulate me and lead me to the water station. May is a fine month for walkers.

granite church
the turbulence of passing bodies