The contrast between the dark, concrete stairway and the dim, just- after- dawn light on the north side of my apartment building was slight in terms of lighting, but massive in terms of conditions. From warm, (overly-so) and dusty; to cool , early morning air that smelled new and fresh with a wind that was more than a breeze but less than a gust, blowing directly into my face, blowing my hair back, blowing wonderful possibilities into this day. It is a Saturday no less, a day that I can use as I choose, no one else’s agenda having precedence over my own. I stood there for a brief moment, breathing the energy and life in. I got myself situated, my keys in position, my music located on the device, the headphones in place.
I stepped out, ready to use the energy running through me. My favorite Chris Brown song is blasting in my ears, my legs working hard and fast, my body sort of half dancing in step to the beat. As I rounded the corner I went from dim light to sunlight peeking over the building next to me, and noticed a woman walking toward me from opposite direction. She was a tall woman, larger than me, with long, honey colored hair hanging down her back, bits around her face blowing in the wind. Her natural complexion was tinted red with exertion, even though she was somewhat meandering in my direction. As she approached, I was also sort of dancing, walking, toward her. Once close enough, I looked right at her, a smile spreading broadly across my face. She too, broke out into a happy expression and our eyes made contact. In that instant, the joy on her face mirrored my own. The joy of a beautiful late summer morning, the joy of a wind blowing the both of us along, the joy of the freedom that is always available but rarely acknowledged…. the joy.
For that moment, that very brief moment in time, I forgot the searing electric pain running through my lower half, forgot that each of my legs are actually stumps and rarely work the way that God intended them to. I forgot that I will be paying for this early activity by giving up most of the rest of my day. I forgot that my future may well not include this freedom to walk, the freedom to feel the satisfied fatigue that comes with hard exercise, or even the gift of movement on a beautiful summer morning. As I nodded my head and smiled wide and shared this beautiful experience with the only other person on this earth at that moment, I forgot. And it was awesome.