Each morning they embark on their own routines. In half-darkness they walk, sometimes together, usually on their own, lapping one another, stretching. Sweating.
There's one guy that is easily identified by his voracious appetite for red t-shirts. Each morning he walks - he's wearing a red t-shirt. Except for this week he's switched to blue. He runs one lap, then sets himself up in the cricket nets. Stretching. Pushing. Pulling. After a while he exits, runs a couple of extra laps, and heads off for the day.
Then there's Peter. Lovely white-haired Peter. He must be at least 80, he walks, we lap one another, we wave hello, we chat on every second lap. He stretches using the fence. He must have lived here forever. He's heading off for four months overseas.
A woman - whose age is difficult to determine turns up. Her ponytail swishes side to side as she runs, effortlessly around and around the oval. She stretches with another woman (who is older and curvier), they chat as they run, under the gum trees, around to the side where the sand flicks up into your sneakers.
Frank is there most mornings. He's a jovial man. We chat politics, war and walking.
Occasionally there are other walkers, but for the most part, it's the usual suspects. Occasionally an elderly woman will brave the slightly sodden grass, walk a few laps, but then she's out of there. Sometimes one of these women will wear a visor, or those sunglasses that flip up and down.
Some mornings see the beginnings of the sunrise. The most spectacular of which featured pale pink and lilac. Streaks of colour like a melted ice-cream. But the next day, markedly less memorable, golden clouds wafting in the sky. Yet it held on to its own beauty, though simplified from the previous.
Most mornings I walk to the dulcet tones of Ira Glass from This American Life. Perfectly timed, and I can get lost for an hour, listening to someone talk about someone else. Sometimes I carve things up and set my iPod to shuffle. Although it's risky with a mix of Playschool mixed with Rihanna mixed with Justine Clarke.
Without even thinking about it, I've become part of the community. Sometimes a silent community, or sometimes a community where a wave or a 'Good Morning' is enough to pass muster. It's comforting to share other people's lives daily. It's a really new sense of perspective, and one that I like.
image via Semantically Driven
Tell me - how does this happen??