Peddling easily I rounded the slight left bend in our principal road here in Sage Creek, through which Polk Drive runs about a mile and a half up to the north section of our community. With some little changes in elevation, it makes for a pleasant workout. Some days I jog the loop. This particular day I was on my bike.
Then I saw the blue jacket up ahead. Was it a fellow that was walking? Yes, it was; that became clearer as my bike took me closer to him. The cap was black, matching his pants.
As the distance between us shortened, I got ready to wave and say hello, something I try to do with almost everyone I see as I take my bike rides or my jogs. But, it was his face that struck me that early afternoon. It was heavily creased and tanned like the weather beaten face of a farmer that spends many hours a day in the bright sun. As I passed him, I did say hello, along with the uplifted right hand of greeting. His face lightened up with a slight smile. And, with that, the distance between us quickly widened.
Why has that little incident stuck with me now these many weeks since it happened? Why that fellow and not any of the others I have greeted the same way? It was that face. When only ten feet past him, I began to conjecture what kind of life had brought such tanned creases to his cheeks and forehead.
I wondered what stories of hardships he could tell me, if he were willing to do that. I wondered if he also lived alone, as I do. Did he also carry the ache of now having only memories and pictures of the love of his life? Maybe he had children with whom he hardly ever had contact. Fortunately, that is not my situation. Perhaps the day I saw him he was just on another of his daily walks that got him out of the house, onto Polk Drive, hoping to see someone riding by on a bike.
I still see that face, even after these several months. No, not physically, since I have not seen him again. I don’t know which of the many streets in our community is his. It isn’t Polk Drive which is a drive only street. All 1500 homes in Sage Creek are on the streets that branch off of Polk Drive. So, unless I see him again on one of his walks, I’ll not have a chance to talk to him, and find out what is behind the tanned creases of that face.
But, I really would like to hear some of his story. I am sure he has one, or more. And, maybe, we could compare notes.