I’m driving to the office, along my usual route, when I spy a couple walking down the Brookside Trolley Track Trail. I’m stopped at a light, 55th, maybe, or 57th. They walk a few paces ahead of where my car idles. They wear oversize T-shirts and baggy shorts. They have grey hair and thin legs. Hands entwined, they move slowly up the Trail with labored steps and slightly hunched, rounded shoulders. They move as one body, neither able to make a step without the balance of the other. I realize they must be in their seventies. As the light turns green and I accelerate through the intersection, I look back and see the calm on their faces, which tilt toward the morning sun.
North of the Plaza, the serious joggers span the stretch of path through the park which stretches the length of the blocks between 47th and 45th, Broadway to the west and Main to the East. Exercise equipment dots the grass on the east side of the trail, with bodies of serious athletes working alongside the doughy forms of those aspiring to attain wellness. A neon green shirt catches my eye, as I sit waiting for the ambulance to clear the roadway by the hospital. The form on which the vivid color flutters seems barely substantial enough to walk, but runs, at a good clip, concentration scrunching the face above the shirt’s round collar.
I raise a paper cup of coffee to my lips and proceed forward, towards work, on my path along the trail, where Kansas Citians stretch and dogwalkers tary, waiting for their charges to finish sniffing. The day dawned cool and tempers subside from the simmer that a few days of elevated temperatures has engendered. Life seems filled with possibility, for more than just me, but for me, also. I’m driving, not jogging, but the trail spans the roadway and I catch the sweet scent of a flowering tree before I hit the fumes of Westport with its gas station and crowded curbside. The fragrance stays with me into the workday, its memory lingering long after the perfume has faded.