I passed a long, slow jog Saturday with a 17-track, all Kris Kristofferson playlist in my ear and intriguing stories of life running through my head.
A rope string laid low by the wind and a bunch of deflated balloons inspired about a half-mile muse about finite festivities. Party or promotion, I wondered. Released or renegade? How far had it traveled and what stories would it tell if I stopped to peek?
I rumbled on.
A bald eagle kept a watchful eye on me as I stopped to take a picture of a birch tree he’d perched above. I’d seen that tree about 100 times before without noticing the carvings in its bark. “CE + AC” “AD + AN” “TL + BB”. Did these couples wander past every now and then, check on their carvings and smile? Were the initials they’d carved a playful prelude to a young romance, a confirmation of an abiding love, or a poignant throwback to better days?
Someone drew what I hoped was a reciprocal heart around the initials “JK”. “C’mon, JK,” I thought. “Give it a whirl.”
The eagle swooped down at me and I panicked for a very brief moment, thinking it intended to sink its talons in me and carry me off. Then I remembered that I was a grown woman, and a rather tall one at that, and I chuckled a little as I watched that big beautiful bird fly away.
I worried for miles about the people behind the birch tree carvings. Were they happy? Still in love? Armed with a large knife and still wandering around that trail? (Just kidding).
I noted the bench underneath the tree and the dedication to a man named James R. Hill. “I don’t know you, Jim,” I thought. “But I think it’s very cool that someone thought to commemorate you this way.”
I clumped along that trail, leaving big ole muddy footprints in my wake, and tipped my fleece hat to Jim (whose obituary I later read).
Wood carvings, metal benches, colorful balloons — they all combine to tell our story, and the legacy we’ll leave behind.
Let’s all lead with love.