There are two older gentlemen that are always at the park where I go to walk or jog. I’m not really that good at guessing ages, but to my untrained eyes they seem to be in their late 70s or early 80s. They always walk together. One always without fail carries a bag of peanuts, which he throws out as he walks to the squirrels he sees. The other seems hardly able to shuffle each step, and often asks his friend to stop so he can stretch his arms up in the air; he’s usually in a large t-shirt, and stretches like he’s training for the next big race.
What’s nice about seeing those two every morning is they always seem so content, like this is it. A nice walk in the park with a friend to feed the squirrels and say hello to the people that pass. And say hello they do, without fail. It usually starts with a “Good Morning” on the first go round. And if they are feeling particularly up to conversation, they mention something about the weather. On my last go round they’ll throw in a “Have a nice day” or something similar. But it’s not the words that strike me, it’s the smiles on their faces, and the way they seem so geniune, so truly happy to be alive.
They were there last year, and come summer when I was able to get to the park in the morning again, there they were. They are now part of that place in my mind. And therefore, even though they don’t know it, they’ve become part of me. I’ve learned something from them this summer.