As I emerged from the forest, drenched in the bi-product of my endeavors to rid my body and spirit of trials and tribulations brought on by the previous year, I felt aglow.
The lessons of the past, the glory of the present and the promise of the future reconciled and in harmony after an early morning run. Now, if I could only catch my breath.
With my heart and lungs questioning the wisdom and/or necessity of sprinting the final 50 meters of the trail; I stretched my arms out to the sides, straightened up and raised my face to facilitate the flow oxygen to my body.
Walking toward me was an elderly Asian man, sporting a fishing hat ...
like the one Chevy Chase wore in “Vacation.” We approached each other and made eye contact. Smiling broadly, he put his arms out to his sides and flapped them up and down, offering a cheery “good morning!” I laughed thinking he was poking good-natured fun at my survival strategy and responded “hello!” We stopped facing one another in the bright morning sun and he recounted a ‘perfect moment’ which I am inspired to share with you.
“When I saw your arms stretched out,” he said, “it reminded me of something I hadn’t thought about in years. I was a young man in love and had invited my girlfriend to the park. We were so happy and full of life, we started running around the grass in circles, laughing and flapping our arms like birds.
It was perfect; just the two of us, the grass and the sunshine. We were so caught up in the moment; we didn’t notice a crowd had gathered around us. We continued to laugh, run, and ‘fly’ like birds. We ‘flew’ toward each other, came together and I picked her up in my arms and spun her around.
We were startled by the sound of cheers and applause and quickly realized we had an audience – it was such a special moment!”
He beamed as he told his story and I felt I had been part of the audience in that park long ago.
I could feel the joy of a young couple in love, hear the sound of their laughter, and share their surprise at the sound of applause. I thanked this gentle stranger for sharing a piece of himself with me. I caught my breath during his story, and his story took it away.
Abbie, Burnaby, British Columbia