A foulweather friend


A typical day in the Northwest consisting of spells of drizzling rain to outright downpours.  I”m walking my dog at Mt. Tabor, and I want to get  extra exercise by climbing stairs. There are some old, narrow cement stairs that lead up the hillside to the reservoir station outlook.  They are built the old-fashioned way with bits of big pebbles sticking out of the craggy sides. Thus, one would think I would be the only person interested in scaling them repeatedly, especially on a dreary, wet day.

Well, think again. I encountered a variety of  stair-stepping zealots, but one girl left an impression on me all evening. She reminded me of a cross between Pippi Longstocking and  Duchess Kate Middleton. She had a  an electric blue umbrella that had seen better days, and was wearing dark wine-colored velvet baggy trousers that only accentuated her waif-like body.  I continued to go up and down the stairs with my dog, and to my amazement, she kept up with me. I could see she was actually quite a strong climber. I asked her questions thinking she might be lonely, and after long silences, she would say just a few words. Something about her was very enigmatic and mysterious. The only thing she did say emphatically, but in a wispy Scarlett O’Hara way, is that “I have to walk every day”.

Later, when I climbed to the top for the last time, I was surprised to see her in the distance under her blue umbrella  with her dog sitting calmly at her side. She had waited for me to summit. Her body and dog were completely still as only her hand waved good-bye for just a moment. I waved back.