(okay, that's a cheesy post title, but you don't know why I said it yet. Please reserve judgement.)
This evening our Outdoor Club at work had an event. We do one big hike each weekend that begins in teh morning, and some kind of walk at midweek that begins around 5:30 pm; the midweek walk tends to be about 4 kilometres, and tends to be on easier trails, so that we can bang the whole thing out in time to still get home for a late dinner and not have to worry about navigating the deep woods in the dark.
"Membership" in our group is very fluid as we all have different schedules and responsibilities. And because I had previously missed a susbstantial hike, I hadn't yet walked a trail with Serena, an occasional member.
When I go walking or hiking, I do not mess around, I move quickly and efficiently. I recognize that this is not everyone's style, and that is what is so great about this Outdoor Club: we are respectful of each other. So if one of us sets a pace that is challenging, the slower members work hard to maintain that pace. And if it becomes obvious that some are faltering, the faster ones slow down. Nothing is ever said, it is instinctual.
I am a strong walker. I go fast. The ground tonight was NOT a nice, level path, so it took a lot of concentration to avoid tree roots and jump mukky spots, but I kept my usual pace. I kept turning around, to make sure everyone was at least still in view. They always were, Serena always bringing up the rear. Keeping up, but just barely. I would try to slow a bit and she would say, "No! Keep going!"
Did I mention that all I was carrying was a small bottle of water in one hand? And that Serena was carrying twenty five pounds of squirmy one year old son on her back?
It reminded me of my best friend Kelly. Waaay back in the day, when we lived in the Rockies, she used to push a double stroller, containing her two toddlers and a diaper bag, 4 kilometres straight down a mountain to my house. And after the play date was over, she would push that same double stroller with two children in it 4 kilometres straight UP a mountain to go home.
My admiration for these women knows no bounds. I could never pull off the physical feats they do.