Last Friday morning, I walked the girls to school. It takes us about ten minutes to walk. It's a good way to connect before the day starts. All of the rushing and shushing and "hurry up" and "stop bugging her and just brush your teeth" have all been said and all that's left is to walk together and talk about nothing and everything.
We crossed Hastings with the help of the ever faithful crossing guard, Cheryl. She's been the crossing guard for the school for over 20 years. She's an icon in the neighborhood. Sometimes we know more about her than we need to, but she needs someone to talk to too, and so we nod and smile and ask a few questions and wish her a good day.
After I left the girls at their doors, I walked across a little street in front of the school and found myself at Confederation Park. I have loved having the park right at the school.
I walked just a little ways to the track at the center of the park. It's always filled with people walking - even if the rain is pouring. I'm usually only one of a very few white people walking. That's one of the best parts. I love running around the track and hearing so many different languages being spoken. It's like the world came to me!
Last Friday there was a little Asian man (you can see him below) walking sideways around the track. He was waving his arms around in a very distinct motion as he moved along. I laughed to myself as I watched him, but not at him. I was enjoying the freedom he felt. Here he was, walking sideways along the track with a crazy arm routine and he could have cared less what anyone else thought of him. He had a big smile on his face and was enjoying the moment. I loved the chance I was given of seeing him move to the beat of his own drum.
When the sun is shining, there is no more amazing place to run. Behind the clouds are the snow capped peaks of the North Shore mountains. I stopped my train of thought and my inner soundtrack a few times that day to say "Look around you. Really look. Remember what you're seeing. Hold on to this picture." I listened to myself carefully, followed directions well and did just I was told.
Every time I rounded the far corner of the track I could hear faint music playing while a big group of people do Tai Chi. They are here every morning - gracefully and deliberately moving together to begin their day. It looks so peaceful and serene.
You know you live in an area with a huge Italian population when there needs to be a sign like this posted near the running track....
As I walked back through the park toward home I stopped to watch another group of people practicing Tai Chi. There are people with white hair and those who looked to be in their early 20's; men and women. It's quiet and reflective. I stopped and took another imaginary picture to stay with me in my memory.
I hope my internal memory card holds up over the years.