About once a week while driving to work I see a couple out for a morning stroll. This morning was a cool September day after a stretch of much too hot and humid ones. The street where I see them in North Oakland is tree-lined and leaves cover the sidewalk. I never get a very good look at them. Since I’m driving it is almost always from behind, then a sideways glance as I go past, followed by a quick vision in my mirror, then I go about my day. As a result it’s difficult for me to get a handle on them.
He is tall and very thin, with very long white hair. He has some sort of physical disability. His hips seem to lean to one side and he limps along with very short steps. The hair and physique makes me think he is older than I am but that may not be true. The woman with him looks younger. She may be his wife, or his daughter, or simply a friend. She may be a physical therapist who comes once a week to help him out. She holds onto his arm, lightly as they move.
And move they do. What strikes me most about this is how quickly they seem to be moving. Short, shuffling steps, but fast, churning up the autumn leaves. Whatever difficulty he may have, it’s obvious he is going somewhere, even if it’s just the end of the block. Perhaps I’m reading into it, given that I see such a brief moment of their day, but I always feel a sense of the joy of simply being in motion.