The sun is shining, it’s 75 degrees and the humidity is low–ideal weather for a noontime run. I live in the perfect place for it. Situated on three sides by the confluence of two rivers, a golf course and a wildlife refuge, my neighborhood rivals an exclusive resort. I’m not the only one pulled outside. The marina is bustling with people busily making their leisure.
Three aged women walk along the water. As I pass them on the path they are laughing, and the ringleader shouts encouragements to me. Each is wearing an expensive sweater and all of them have bright white hair against deeply tanned, leather skin. They must be snow birds, returning to their yachts from further south.
A group of young mothers perambulate their infants. They stop at the pavilion and draw their babies out onto the grass. I can’t help but notice how young they look. I wonder if I once looked like that, too. I mentally tick off the battle scars I’ve gained along my way: graying hair, pudgy flesh, wrinkled skin, a heart forged from ten thousand hugs. Two other women push babies. They remain outside the group, older. Grandmothers? Great grandmothers, perhaps?
A young man maneuvers a ladder onto the top of a truck. He begins to light a cigarette, sees me and stops. He apologizes for “fouling my air.” I smile at his ridiculousness and tell him it’s been twenty years and it still smells good. He tells me he really needs it, “I quit drinking eight days ago.” I give him a thumbs up and pick up my pace.
A couple passes me, walking their dog. She is dressed in a sari. He holds the leash.
This is the first mowing. The new grass is damp and smells delicious. Brown men pitch steaming, stinking heaps of browner mulch. Every tree has a bud or a bloom. Tulips dance in the breeze. An osprey hovers over a tree, motionless for a time. It makes its choice, and with a crack, flies away with a branch in its talons.
From threat of snow only days before, sand is still gathered in small piles on the asphalt.
Sweat begins to bead on my forehead. The taste of salt is on my lips. A drip forms. I don’t know it yet, but as it falls, seven thousand miles away, millions fear the sea will swallow their island.
I’m baffled how anyone can believe in—trust in— a god when in this second, in this moment of time, such disparity exists.