I was feeling a little tense and my muscles were aching for some exercise, so I took a walk around the neighborhood this evening.
I don't do this as much as I should. Not owning a dog requiring a daily outing, I tend to stay housebound except for adventures further afield, shopping trips or the daily journey to and from work.
I note this largely as a contrast to my boyhood when I walked everywhere, exploring all around my parent's home. Even though I have lived in my house for 12 years, there are still streets and parks close by that I know hardly at all.
So off I went, on a sunny and slighty sticky evening, heading up Midland Avenue and lamenting the lack of paved sidewalks in this country where the car is still the king. I found myself in a small park with a playgound, sat at a picnic table and snapped a few photographs. As I was doing so, the grandmother of the boy in the picture came by, sat down, and proceeded to give me twenty minutes of her life story. Her daughter's three miscarriages – the first at age 14 – and how much it cost to get her out of jail from a suspected car theft. Her job trials, the other children – a litany of woes that made my problems seems completely trivial in comparison.
Still, she seemed to be taking it all in stride. 'God will sort it out' was a frequent refrain, and it really seemed to be working for her too. There was a matter-of-factness in her stories that bemused me; clearly she had been dragged over the emotional coals by these events as she freely admitted herself, but it had hardly destroyed her. Her sanguine attitude was refreshing and heartening with its quiet optimism. Every calamity had stirred up a storm for sure, but each passed and the consequences had been dealt with.
It's hard not to come away from such encounters without fresh faith in humanity.
I left at an opportune lull in the conversation and continued my ramble, finding a totally unexpected semi-wild gravel path passing alongside a railway line that I followed until it emerged next to a lumber yard. The road there was the accurately if unimaginatively namely 'North and South' Road, and I headed southward towards my house, cutting across Millar Park and through a large number of Memorial Day revelers.
Maybe an hour and half of my time spent on this and delightful it was too.