Yesterday I hiked a ways with an old man. He had to be in his 80s, at least. He walked alone with his Bichon Frise, a friendly girl named Maggie. At first I tried to walk away, to stay up with my group, but he kept talking. He told me about moving to Alabama during the height of desegregation, how his daughter adapted a Southern accent in just two weeks to fit in, being drafted after high school, wondering what his life would have been like if he had become a vet at UC Davis like he planned instead. He was a Sacramento transplant living on the Oregon coast. Life left him alone and he needed to talk.
Riding away in the car after we parted ways, I felt a little sad. Here all that old man wanted was someone to listen to his story and I was trying to walk faster to keep up with my group. Once I really stopped to listen, I was happy I did– he told some incredible stories, I only wish I got to hear more.