I usually hear her before I see her.
As I sit on the front porch, I hear the wheels of her walker scraping along the road. She is out there, walking, in the rain, the snow, the hot hot sun of summer. Always by herself. She circles our block once, sometimes twice every day. And she always, always has the most beautiful smile on her face.
She lives on the block behind us, in an immaculate little white house with pink shutters protected by tall Ponderosa pines. She is, I found out, 99 years old.
I think about her as I run, when it feels hard and I would rather be somewhere else, doing anything other than running. I think about her and how happy she is just to be outside, to be walking. To be ABLE to walk. It makes me run faster.
I am working up the courage to talk to her. To maybe walk beside her for awhile, to ask her about her life. I'm sure it's been full of joys, surprises, sorrows and grief. I want to tell her thank you for reminding me that I am lucky to be healthy and able to walk, to run, to jump and play and that I should do so, every day. Thank you for your beautiful smile that reminds me that life? Is good.