So lockdown version 1.0 started 238 days ago for us. That equates to 34 weeks of life-adjustment. Of those 34 weeks I have run or, courtesy of sciatica, walked the forest roughly 3-4 times a week. Let’s err on the side of caution and say 3 times meaning I have spent 102 mornings dodging puddles and pounding the pathways of our glorious woodland.
It’s become quite a little community. I’ve begun to recognise faces and get used to the foibles of my fellow forest wayfarers. It’s got to the point where if I bumped in to them in the local tescos it would be a tad awkward. Do I say hi? Do I keep a social distance but give them the eyeball of recognition. Would they even clock me out of my uniform of Lycra, bed hair and smudged mascara?
It would depend on which of my morning socially-distanced companions it was. And it is from this that my day three win evolved.
Cracking a Tough-Nut
Most people I come across, despite the early hour, take the time to say good morning, give a smile or at least raise a hand.
There’s Mister Whippet. The man who runs and has the physique of a greyhound. He always spurs me on with a sense of runner’s camaraderie. A wave that says I’m part of the club.
I was impressed by Poodle Guy today. His welcome was effusive and had no hint of lockdown fatigue.
There’s the gnomey couple. Tiny in stature but always a decisive nod to bid me good day as they give me a proper distanced swerve.
Everyday faces. All these people that have inadvertently become part of my morning routine.
As with the acorns that litter the pathways, there’s always a tough nut to crack though.
He made an appearance a few months back. No matter if I was running late, or early – somewhere on my 7km plod our paths would cross.
I get not everyone is a morning person like me. I get that forest walks may be for personal headspace and processing this crazy pandemic. But I’ve always believed there’s an etiquette. Perhaps it’s a Devonian thing, but I will always say hello and smile.
Not Mister Head-Down. Nope. Nada. Zilch.
After about a month of me persevering I got a slight nod. This was progress. And persevere I did. Every day. I’d smile and sometime go wild and give a little wave.
But today. Something shifted in the world order. Perhaps it was the mild weather. The sunshine. My relentless, slightly manic attempts to make eye contact.
He smiled at me!
And that was enough. It tickled me and properly made me chuckle to finally crack this tough-nut. It spurred me on to do 10 blinking kilometres.
We are officially forest friends now. I’m not sure Mister Head-down realises it. Perhaps it was just wind. But I think we’ve made a bond.
As for the other 5 people that ignored me… you’re next on the list. I’m going to have hugs by December 2nd. Well, considering government guidance I’ll settle for a head nod – but I’m coming for you!
Why I won today: got a smile from a semi-stranger
What’s your thoughts on acknowledging people when out and about? Is it more a country thing than city? When was the last time a stranger made you smile?