January 17, 2012


Susan Heeger, a guest writer for “Good Housekeeping” wrote about her daily walks through the park which she’s been doing for the last 14 years. (“Good Housekeeping,” “A Walk in the Park” 1/2012) She writes about the community of walkers around her who, without realizing it, have become a part of her life. She thinks fondly for the heavy set man who has whittled down his waistline over the years; wonders what happened to the young couple who used to jog together but are seen no more, and marvels at the energy of an older woman who talks non-stop on her cell phone as she spurts though her exercise. 

Change comes to the park, too, she admits.

          “I’ve seen children pushed in running strollers outgrow them, to be replaced by siblings.” (Heeger, pg. 156)

(courtesy: www.123rf.com)

As I read her lines, I couldn’t help smiling. My park exercises are much like hers.  I suppose we writers can’t stop observing and wondering. Of course, sometimes the joke is on us as we tend to assume we’re invisible — watchers who are never watched. That’s not true, of course. Heeger was surprised one day when a younger woman approached her along the path and stopped to say “thank you.”  The author couldn’t imagine what the stranger meant until she learned the woman had observed her regular walks through the park and had decided to do the same. Because of it, she’d lost 30 lbs. and wanted to thank the writer for being a good example.

At that moment, Heeger’s cloak of invisibility fell away.  An acquaintanceship had been formed and a revelation given: the simplest actions can have important consequences.