The 7:30 am now routine morning walk around the school neighbourhood before shouldering my bag of responsibilities & going in.
Today, turning into the home strait, I see a colleague in the Music Dept., open-necked shirt, smoking a cigarette. I greet him & we shake hands. He explains he's trying to give up the habit - but he likes a smoke while out on a walk. Doesn't make sense, but there it is. He shrugs.
Although I don't smoke, I can understand his dilemma. We talk about the pleasures of an early morning stroll - the houses still more or less asleep, the bird song, the fresh chill to the air.
I explain that I walk my dog - at which he nods & looks around. The joke is, of course, I have no dog. Then the penny drops & he laughs.
I begin to head back towards my car. "Our secret" I say conspiratorially, looking over my shoulder. He nods & drags again on his cigarette.
As I walk to the car I'm thinking about this strange 'brotherhood' (sisterhood, too, is possible but I haven't yet encountered any women) drawn by the morning. What compels us to find this little space (a mere 10 ... 15 ... 20 minutes or so)? To think, to wander, to 'commune' with the spirits of the air - or simply to prove we're not completely at the mercy of someone else's schedule?
Whatever it is, it does me a power of good.