I wrote this blog post in September 2013 on Rocky Road Diaries while living in England. I thought it was more relevant today than when I wrote it then.
The sun was luminous and a slight breeze came in off the salty sea in Lytham St. Annes – a seaside town in the Borough of Fylde in Lancashire, England. It seemed like a waste to head indoors so soon. It was then that I decided to change course during my morning ritual walk/run. It may not seem like a big deal, but what happened next made changing courses a change in my life, forever.
As I slowed my run down to a walk, I reached the dirty cement partition separating the beach from the car park. I looked over the wall and caught a glimpse of the tide. The sun was warm against my back. Ahead, I saw an outline of a tall, lanky man strolling towards me. As we approached each other, I saw a weathered face, but I also saw a once young, good-looking man. The years have caught up with him, but I could tell his insides were years behind.
The Conversation Went Like This
“Hello.” the man said.
“Good Morning,” I said.
He keeps walking. His feet turning around in the sand is just audible.
He shouted, “Where is that accent from?”
I turned and smiled. “United States.”
He slowly walked back towards me and I waited. Towering over me, he must have been at least 6′ 5″. He was athletic back in the day.
“I’ve been to America once,” he said. “I went to New York City.”
“Great city!” I replied.
He Had More To Say
I could tell he had more to say.
Looking into his over-worked eyes, I said “Beautiful morning, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” he said. “You know I used to run every day, but then I had knee surgery about 10 years ago.” He looks down at his knees as he gingerly shifts them back and forth. He looked up at me again and said, “You know, we always take a simple thing like walking for granted. You know…until something happens and you can’t walk anymore. Do you walk every day?”
I studied him. I replied, “Yes, in fact, I do. I run and walk every day. It’s funny you say that because I just wrote a short story about walking and how I give thanks to my legs every day.”
He smiled and took his two long index fingers and gestured to his temples on both sides of his head, “You have to be content between here first before you can be content in life”.
“Yes, I agree,” I said while wondering where this conversation was headed.
Don’t Miss The Beauty
He leaned down and in a soft-spoken voice said, “I have a quote for you and I want you to remember this: “You are always so concerned with where you are going; you miss the beauty of where you’re at.” He stood there staring at me and then slowly turned and walked away.
“Wait!” I shouted.
He rotated around and raised his eyebrows at me. “Can you please repeat that?” I pleaded wanting to remember not only what he said, but his eyes…his face.
He sauntered back and pointed his lengthy aged finger towards me and repeated it again, but more slowly that time.
“Ok, I got it, and thank you.”
Go Off Course
I stood there and stared at his aging body as it turned and started walking down the sandy concrete into the sun. His striking silhouette drifted off. I waited for a stream of light to shine down and beam him away. It didn’t happen.
It’s strange when you go off course what life will bring you. I needed to meet that man today. I am reminded to live in the moment and not miss the beauty of what is in front of me.
Go off course today and see what happens. Strange how memories come back at the right times in your life.
Lytham St Annes. (2023, March 11). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lytham_St_Annes