1.14.2010

The Jogger

One early morning, when all was dark but for the electric orange of the street lights and a faint yellow glow, barely visible over the horizon, a friend and I were walking. A figure shuffled toward us on the sidewalk. A jogger. As he approached, the conflicting details of his personage emerged: he wore a red baseball cap over long, dirty, naturally dreadlocked hair (as in, not combed or washed, not the the carefully tended dreads of your modern-day hipster), a dirty white t-shirt, and shorts, perhaps athletic shorts, and old, worn-out tennishoes. His face was smudged and smeared, and generally covered in a layer of grime distinctive to those who reside outdoors.

At first, I was struck by the sight of a homeless person out for a jog. Then I saw the long, thin white cane he held firmly at his side, with the tip hovering just above the cement. He was blind, or very nearly. I considered this unusual sighting, bemused and confused by the rare but possible combination of blind, homeless, and athletically inclined, until I saw, as he passed slowly but steadily by, that from his dry, cracked lips hung a cigarette, lit and burning.

I have yet to fully process this sighting. I consider this man from time to time, and the many possiblities of his reality, and try, with futility, to make sense of it all. This blind, homeless, jogging, smoking man, in his own way, inspires me to be a more flexible, well-rounded person. His existence makes limits and labels seem meaningless. I know it isn't yoga, but it does stretch the mind.

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