Thick, the air was thick,
Sweat started to flow
Just about as soon
As I stepped out of my car.
A quick Mr. Rogers moment
Where I changed into some trail shoes
Preceded a Shackleton glimpse of the map,
This being my first time running on this track.
Into the tropics I went,
Hitting a hill within the first hundred yards,
The heavy air was hard to breath.
My heart rate skyrocketed.
All I could do was walk a bit to encourage my lungs
To relax, to work efficiently, to help my heart.
Before long I was running, listening to my easing breath,
A steady pace allowing an inner smile.
Because I don’t really smile on the outside,
But that’s not the point, I was really happy on this path,
The dirt slick from rain and humidity, the trail narrow,
Single track, made more slender by summer’s vegetation.
Light streamed through the trees,
But there wasn’t a hint of a breeze, and
After one lap, I committed to another,
This time turning right at the fallen tree, a different way.
Which was awesome, a new look, a random connection
Taking me on a novel journey through the woods,
Over the slick trail, while the heavy air
Gradually became nothing but an afterthought.
The third lap followed the original route,
Familiarity was coming quickly, that root, that rock,
Each a marker to remember and an alert
That I must not forget about this special place.
After most of an hour, I exited the woods after being alone,
A place I was all too prepared to be as I dried off,
But a guy named Dave came over
Fully intent on having a conversation.
He was restoring the old mill house, along with Jeff and Mike.
The house had been slated for a controlled burn
So the fire company could get some experience,
But conservancy won out and now Dave had some work.
He talked about blending old construction techniques
With modern appearances for his contemporary jobs.
I shared that I used live in colonial homes that were built
Back when his techniques would have been modern.
He was the first stranger conversation I’d had in a long time,
Maybe since March, nearly four months ago.
He went back to work, I squeezed the sweat from my shirt,
Pulled my Mr. Rogers move again, and drove home.