I go for a walk at my park that is about 442 feet away from me according to Google Earth. That is the nearest point of the ovalesque asphalt track that is one quarter of a mile long in relationship to where I am sitting while typing these words. It is a very new track, with very little debris, mainly because my left foot has whisked away most of the rocks, twigs and human microtrash faster than it can accumulate over the last several weeks.
On yesterday's walk of three miles there were two small children that I did not know who came towards me on my first lap. They were probably ages 6 and 4, girl and boy, most likely sister and brother by the way she most holding him tightly around his shoulder with her right arm, being about a head taller. With her left hand she gave me an elevated wave and said "Hi" simply, and then we took a few more steps closer and she said, "We are just walking so we can get skinnier". I could not contain my laughter one hundred percent but I kept most of it bottled up as these two children were bean poles. Any skinnier and they would be classified anorexic.
Before I tell you what my question to her was, remember I have no idea who these children are, total strangers. So I ask her, "Do you think I am getting skinnier?" Now bear in mind it has been decades since I would have been classified as skinny, nor do I remember if she has ever seen me before in order to truly make a comparison.
She quickly answered, "Yes, (micro hesitation, her eyes squint) a little bit skinnier".
Today I go back to the same park, but it is a little colder and I only want to walk a half mile and I just stop there in my truck on the way home instead of coming from the house on foot. My right knee is a bit sore, probably from yesterday.
Just as I start my walk I hear a strange noise coming from a little girl far away in the park. After a few moments I determine, yes, she is trying to make a chicken noise, or maybe whatever noise they teach city children is The Noise of The Chicken. There was clucking. Little girl clucking. Loudly.
So on the first lap there is a little boy that I notice is sneaking up behind me on the path se-mi-qui-et-ly, but when I turn around, he smiles, yells in fake fright and dashes away!
I giggle. I no longer notice the cool air.
So then I notice that a little girl is farther down the path, the cluck cluck girl, only quiet with a smile, I think. She is at a distance that it is hard to see her expression. I resume my journey and complete the first lap.
One third of the way around the track the boy and girl are hiding behind trees and doing a poor job of it. They start off being ahead of me, but then slowly cautiously circle back behind me, giggling at their inventiveness, trying to be unseen by me. Every once in a while, though, I turn around suddenly and they see me and scatter, joyfully screaming. At the halfway mark I not only turn around but stand on one foot with the other foot quite a ways off the ground more than normal. They try to imitate but don't have my sense of balance, and almost topple. They don't know I have spent hours of my life standing on one foot. I resume my walk.
I soon hear giggles behind me that sound different. I turn around to see them behind a trash can. First the boy's head pops out the north side, then a girl over the top, and then suddenly a third girl pops out the right side. Someone new has joined the peek-a-boo party at the park. I wave and they scatter back behind the trash can and one of them runs back to the trees.
I resume my walk, but they become more daring sneaking down the line of evergreen trees that line the inside west side of the ovalesque path. They are getting closer, but they soon run out of trees. I wave goodbye as I finish lap two. It's off to my truck and on to my home.