I was run/walking today on a wooded path alone. Three guys were heading towards me, drinking beers, joking around. My heart rate increased. I did that mental calculus, wondering if something happened, and I screamed, would anyone hear.
As they got closer, one of the guys said: good morning, ma’am!
So I said good morning back.
Are you having fun? He asked.
Trying! I said back.
Keep at it! He responded.
Earlier in my walk, I came across a deer in the middle of the path. While I was far off, it simply watched, waited, did it’s own mental calculus. I was actually astonished at how close we came.
But them my ear buds beeped, signalling the next run interval and as I changed pace, the deer was startled and took off through the woods.
I hate that we live in a world where my first instinct was to be cautious. I wasn’t afraid, but alert and anxious… just like I’ve been conditioned to be by the friends, family, and strangers who have had their vulnerability taken advantage of. Just like that deer that turned an ran when it percieved me as a threat.
Even if I didn’t feel physically threatened, I have been cat-called enough that I was dreading the moment I came to the three guys.
I was wrong.
Today, I’m grateful for people who remind me that most people really are decent, that kind souls exist, and who appreciate a beautiful stroll on a path in the woods on a gorgeous day as much as I do.