The guy pulls up in a pickup. “There’s a fee for that, you know.”
We’re standing in the parking lot at Chaparral Park looking at the sky. Geese are everywhere. There’s some sort of competition going on. They’re in little packs of flying V’s, going in various directions. There doesn’t appear to be a reason; it looks like a game. But the guy in the pickup is serious.
“There’s a 2-cent fee to watch the geese,” he says. My mind races for a witty comeback. But it’s too early in the day. “Uh,” I reply.
He shrugs. “We’ll just charge it to your account,” he says and drives off.
I had totally forgotten how much I love this park. It’s a 0.9 mile loop around a pond/lake. Sidewalk, but there’s a hint of a dirt path next to it that’s totally runabble. If runnable is a word. And it might be. Birds, walkers, runners, benches, bathroom, water fountain. All the essentials, other than a Medium Chocolate Frosty machine. It’s just a mile or so from home. And it whispers one more lap one more lap come on one more lap. This will be the new spot.
Mo and I walk a couple of miles. She cracked a rib on her first run here, so she’s sidelined for a while. But walking is a great way to become reacquainted. The long straight, the little climb, the home stretch. I’ve done this run so many times. It feels like home. As I get older, I worry less about Having To Run. A brisk walk feels just right. The world goes by at a 16:20 pace. It’s a good world.
A goose stares at us from just off the trail. Don’t get too close, Mo says. She goes through the story about how she was attacked by a goose as a child. I laugh, and then recoil as the goose gives me a head fake. I’m sure he’ll be laughing about that one over beers with the boys tonight. I feel less guilty about my down sleeping bag.
Sometimes I wonder about moving back. But then we come back to a place like this and think maybe it will be OK after all. Maybe.
As we finish, the geese are gone. Off for those happy hour beers? I love this place. I begin to mentally plan the next day’s run. And the next.
And it will only cost me 2 cents a day …