I head out into a very grey, cold morning. At the start, I’m feeling kind of alert and crisp and on. I make myself go a different way, just to mix things up.
Patches of dark on the pavement make me nervous. I mince along carefully, stopping and testing a few times to see if it’s ice or what. Because it’s all over the place. Never quite convinced, I spend the entire run mincing.
Everything’s quiet. Hardly any traffic. I watch another pair of runners leave me in the dust. That’s okay.
Up a long boulevard with bigger houses, silence. I see a man ahead, also in the road, walking in my direction. I skirt huge piles of icy leaves.
As I near the man, I begin to hear him. He looks at me angrily, daring me, and keeps on walking and talking loudly to the air.
I turn the corner.
Head down another silent street. Notice the smashed, frozen pumpkins. The bicycles sitting forlornly out in the cold. The rake left in the yard amongst the unraked leaves. Various yard decorations, straggling campaign signs, and lawn chairs sit forgotten and sad in this cold.
The flurries pick up, and gently sting my face.
Car comes along, and I swing up onto the sidewalk. A man approaches on a bicycle and makes no room and no comment. I move out of his way.
I notice I am slow this morning. I check my pace, and sure enough, even for me, I am slow.
That’s pretty slow.
I decide to be okay today with being slow. Part of it, I realize, is because of my very careful steps, wary of ice and the many obstructions along my path.
It’s also this world I am traversing, strange and frozen this morning. It feels lost and hostile.
In this moment, I am a reluctant traveler. Still, I am out there, making my way.
I pass a person walking, all bundled up, face hidden underneath a hat and scarf. I smile and raise my hand in a gesture of hello.
For just a moment, I see their eyes. They silently raise their hand in recognition.
I take a breath, noticing it, and head for home.