Please stop sending me messages along the lines of “It’s a match: Sara and Kevin.” Just. Stop. I don’t think my husband knows what Pinterest is, and he does occasionally look at my phone while not wearing reading glasses. I’m afraid he will see your matchmaking along the lines of a sexy Pimpterest rather than a crafty Pinterest.
The morning walk
A couple times a week I walk with ladies from the health club. We complete more than 3 miles as quickly as they will let me walk. Some days we walk slowly, too slowly, which just about drives me crazy. This morning was such a walk.
A new walker joined us in the darkness — with her dog. (I could feel my eyes rolling, at least on the inside. This didn’t bode well for this pace-hungry walker.) The three of us exchanged pleasantries, allowed Roxy to sniff us, and then started our mad dash.
“Oh, you all are too fast for me,” the new walker said.
We slowed a little, thinking she would stick with us for the first neighborhood and then graciously bow out. She didn’t, probably because we graciously had slowed our steps. We started the second neighborhood in complete darkness, and I knew this woman and her pet were in for the long run (or long, slow walk). We even stopped for Roxy to do “her business” here and there and slowed more when the animal was certain a cat was nearby.
Jenna, who normally checks her Apple watch and alerts me as to our pace at each mile, quietly looked at her watch at intervals but said nothing. I knew we were nowhere near our record pace.
But we walked and talked and shared stories about the rescue animals all of us seemed to own. As the darkness started fading with the sunrise, our new walker said she and Roxy could go alone from here, freeing Jenna and I to make up for lost time.
Before we did, however, we petted Roxy and said goodbye. As I reached out my hand to let the dog smell me before I petted her, she leaned into my leg and looked into my eyes.
“Awww! She likes you,” Jenna said.
Knowing the dog’s back story, indeed, knowing her owner’s story after walking and talking for the 40 minutes or so we’d been together, I liked Roxy too. I’m not a dog person, but knowing she felt comfortable and friendly with me gave me a special feeling. I petted her and talked with her and felt truly happy that we’d taken the time to walk together.
“I enjoyed hearing your stories,” I told our fellow walker. I really had.
And then we parted ways, walking quickly and running occasionally, as Jenna broke the news of our average pace.
Slow, certainly, but sweet.
Baby Dino, where are you?
I walk at work as well as the health club, and I have two colleagues willing to do “Sharon sprints” twice a day. (Sharon is one of my colleagues who is probably half a foot shorter than me but keeps pace with my long legs and is the real reason I change into sneakers for these 10 minute sprints.)
We walk to and around a little park surrounding a retention pond that has inexplicably filled with fish, turtles, a variety of birds, and an alligator over the past year or so.
“I’ve heard that raindrops can contain fish eggs,” Rachel, who holds a Ph.D., once told us. I think she believes it.
(Apparently, they hold turtle and alligator eggs too.)
Rachel, who is new to Florida, calls the alligator — a baby we’ve watched grow from about 1 foot to 4 foot plus — “Baby Dino,” because she considers him (I assume he is a him) a dinosaur. Baby Dino has been missing for the past two weeks.
We still look for him twice a day, even ask fellow pedestrians if they’ve seen him, but alas! he is gone. We’ve seen an osprey dive into the water and retrieve a fish (and then fly away with it only to drop it back in the water with a big splash). We’ve seen gorgeous birds, large and small. We’ve seen turtles poking their heads up or sliding quickly in the water in fear of us.
But we miss seeing Baby Dino. Of course, if Rachel’s philosophy is correct, he might have been evaporated (all four feet of him) and will be transported to another pond in the next rain storm.
Maybe one near you.