A Walk Can Teach Us

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I just got back from a walk. Even though it's getting rarer with each passing day, the sky is a deep blue. Almost every tree is bare. Leaves are still sprinkling the ground and most every lawn is still a vibrant shade of green. 

Things were surprisingly quiet....

I came across two boys on scooters. They thought I was a teacher from the school. I get mistaken for this teacher nearly every time an elementary age child sees me out in public. 

The boys were racing and making siren noises and, as it happened, getting all the dogs in the neighborhood to bark. 

Next, I came across an old man. I don't actually know his name, but I've watched him age A LOT over the last few years. He and his wife were always together. Sitting on the porch, or in the window in their chairs, going on errands. I loved knowing that they were there watching the world go by together. She isn't there any more. I'm not sure if she died or just moved to a nursing home...And he is slowing down. I've watched as he's started to stoop over a little more all the time. His movements have become less sure.
Somehow, he continues to press on. I still see him sitting on the porch, shuffling to the house from the car, or doing his yard work. He declines help the few times I've asked, so I think it gives him purpose. 

Today he had a rake and a garbage can. He was carefully, slowly raking leaves and edging over with the rake to pick them up. As I struggled to keep up a very fast pace, there he was, struggling to just bend over and pick up some leaves. 


A few houses down I noticed a tree. One side was completely bare and the other side from top to bottom had tons of leaves on it. Strange? I thought so. 

And then I saw another old man. He's been fixing up a house for several years now. First it was the roof. Then it was the yard. And now, it's the porch. His method involves ripping things up and starting from scratch. Almost everyday for the last few years he spends his days working on the house. 
Every time I see him, I wonder things like where did he come from? What does he do in the evenings? What does he think about while he works? Has this always been a dream or has he spent his whole life doing these kind of projects? 

Today I learned something about him. He does that quiet not quite a whistle but more than simply blowing air out of your mouth thing...And it made me smile. My grandma always did that. It was always a tune of some kind, louder than a hum but much quieter than a whistle. I wonder what song is his favorite? 

And then I just walked. I didn't see any more people or hear any more children playing. I passed old houses that I haven't walked by since this time last year. I thought about the people that do live or have lived in many of them...

And then I saw a woman in her kitchen window drinking her coffee. And heard the boys who had ditched their scooters and started playing soccer behind a fence. And breathed out because I was almost home. 

The quiet was still there, but now I had seen and heard. I had observed and remembered and questioned life. 
And the simple things that happen everyday all around me looked like something different. They looked like God putting people here and blessing them with so many things. It looked like perspective...
A walk can teach us something. 
I am here and He is there. And yet, all of these details and all of the details in the universe, are His. 

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