The silver-haired gentleman looked like a fish out of water the moment I spotted him. I was already in the momentum of my busy Saturday in order to try to get everything on my ridiculous to do list accomplished before nightfall. It was still early when I jumped into my truck and I caught him out of the corner of my eye via my garage window.
I paused momentarily eyeing the unaware elderly man as the sun was just peaking over the edge of the earth as if watching with me, it sprinkled it’s gentle rays on the old guy as if the street in front of my house was his stage. He moved methodically with intention and purpose in each slow and deliberate stride.
I quickly deduced that he didn’t live on my street and that he must be one of my neighbor’s dad. “There’s something different about him,” I thought to myself as I glanced at him, fired up my truck, fastened the seatbelt, and hit the garage door opener, hoping he might not hear it groan and disturb him while I studied the thin man that was sporting jeans and a sweater.
I backed out still unseen and unheard as I pulled out and up slowly and respectfully toward him to let him clear my path. He finally spotted me not twenty feet away from him almost stopped and he waved grandly as his face seemed to light up with delight. I lifted my hand just off the steering wheel and nodded and smiled as he strode to the other side of the street.
I continued to study the graceful gentleman in my rearview as I drove slowly away, which is also a rarity for me. I watched the distinguished looking man look about thoughtfully at everything in his line of sight. Just before I turned the corner out of our short cul-de-sac I peered back one more time and finally put my finger on it.
It was his body language as he walked. People that go on walks around my neck of the woods walk with a different purpose. The walks taken around these parts by the folks who live around here are for exercise. This man wasn’t out for a walk, he was out for a stroll.
The art of strolling and the sure sign of being on a stroll I’d seen so little of in the past two or three decades that I didn’t recognize it. It was how the old fellow held his hands; clasped gracefully behind his back as he strolled. His generation knew how to walk and they knew how to stroll… and they knew the difference and purpose of each… a trait that doesn’t seem to have been passed on to a generation too busy to be bothered with nonsense like pondering the beginning of a new day.
I hit the gym hard and fast, took care of business, cleared my computer post haste, and hit my office and was buried in blueprints all day. Come late afternoon I raced to the shower and grabbed a protein bar to arrive five minutes late for church… I thought about the strolling senior the next day as I headed off to my office to pen this post…
I folded my arms behind my back and slowed my pace to a stroll.
We race through this life striving for the grand things, never realizing as we pass an old man with his hands folded gently behind his back that he is reaping the true treasures of wisdom…