Friday, March 20, 2009

Speed Walking

Every once in a while, when I’m exercising or in a hurry to get somewhere (both rare circumstances for me) an even rarer image for these situations appears on my face – a smile. I smile as I think of the method of speed walking, or more specifically the boy who taught me how to speed walk. Robby died when we were fifteen. I didn’t know him very well really, but he did give this to me, this smile worthy of tears. Robby and I had freshman P.E. together and we would race when we walked around the track and after beating me every time, he told me that I needed to make my stride longer and pump my arms more. Let’s forget the fact that I’m 5’3” and he was a basketball player. Of course the problem was my stride, not my short legs and non-athletic body. So when I walk fast I think of his sweet smile and deep laugh, the best hug I’ve ever received, his blond hair, and his kindness.

The taste of peppermint, raw peanuts, a Reese’s peanut butter cup, or pungent red wine always reminds me of my grandfather – of his goofy smile and willingness to let me turn his living room into a sparkling mess of garland every Christmas. I remember walking with him on his land to the creek, through the grapevines, back to my childhood. A pair of clear blue eyes and a knowing smile makes me think of my uncle. He had an understanding that I still and never will fully comprehend, a heart that was truly good, a meaning deeper than any other I will know. I remember family gatherings and saying goodbye. Though the sadness inherent in thinking of those who have died persists, with time they have turned into memories that leave life lessons and a lingering smile.

When I think of them, it reminds me, often, of the brevity of life, of the uncertainty of life. “Why” resonates in my mind. Why did they die? Why are we here? Why do we let moments pass us by? Why? But this answer is what I get – maybe, maybe we don’t have to save the world, or even a single life in order for our lives to have worth. Maybe if only one person thinks of us fondly, maybe that makes us good. I think those who I’ve lost and still think of are good. They were kind. Maybe that’s all that matters.

So maybe, instead of worrying about every step and every decision, maybe I should just be and make sure that the people I care about know that I care. It's a bit easier said than done...true. Must..not..worry. Ok, go.