The river was very different on Saturday. All because of a couple of simple changes to my routine five-mile walk.
For one, I walked in the evening and not in the morning.
And, for another, instead of hanging a left after exiting the gate, I turned right and completed the loop.
Made one heck of a difference.
There were kids and teens and adults and even one old man cooling themselves in the river. One kid, about five or six years old, walked away from the river, turned around, and like Michael Holding's run-up in his bowling, she ran a long way and canon-balled into the river.
At another spot, two kids were cheering their dad and encouraging him to get into the river. "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" they chanted. He dipped his toes first and slowly waded. The vegetation hid them as I continued walking, but the greenery didn't muffle the sound from the "daddy" that said it all: "Don't you dare splashing water on me!" Ah, yes, wimpy fathers most of us are.
Past the bridge was the park where a young couple was seated on a blanket and were eating. The girl seemed to be enjoying it while the guy did not appear to be at ease. Perhaps the gender issue--women think that a visit to a beach or a park includes taking blankets and books along. As for most of us men, well, let me put it this way--blankets are for sissies! ;)
I kept walking at my usual pace.
In another part of the greens, I saw a woman with a hijab on and three kids with her, all seated on the grass and munching on something.
As I reached the bridge, I passed a young couple playfully pushing each other as they walked. Ah, yes, to be young and in love!
I had no idea that the best was reserved for near the end.
A bicyclist was coming towards me at quite some speed. He was without a shirt, which was no big deal. But, from a distance at least it seemed like he was not wearing anything at all. A nude cyclist? I couldn't discount the possibility; after all, this is Eugene.
He neared me.
As he passed me, it was clear that he did have something on. That something was only a tad larger than a male thong. Even the கோமணம் (kōmaṇam) of the old country covers more, I think.
I was now less than five minutes away from home when an old man with a long white beard passed me in the other direction. He looked perhaps sixty, or even sixty-five years old. His outfit exemplified the liberal, hippie, free spirit, image that Eugene has--his top, yes not a shirt, was a red top with a spaghetti strap, and for the bottom he had a pair of hot pants. He was an old man with a long white beard.
To think that I would have missed out on all these had I walked in the morning as I always do, and if I had started in the other direction as I always do! I wonder what else I have missed out on ... what a wonderful world it is!