Sunday, August 31, 2008

Laying Down Track

Three blocks from where I live, there’s a high school running track. This summer they tore up the grass in the center and put down a layer of gravel as a foundation for artificial turf. I understand this is for an eagerly-awaited soccer field.

The outside track where I used to do laps with a good neighbour and friend was also ripped apart. In its place I saw tractors and scattered pieces of concrete in heaps everywhere.

The upheaval happened at the same time as the changes in our relationship. For several years we traded recipes (he made the best curry) and meals as well as stories and bits of wisdom. Just before July, he moved back to his home in South America. Suddenly there were thousands of miles and nothing but faulty communications between us – and his absence left a huge gap.

Today I walk past the soccer field and see a brand new track. It’s wider and made of asphalt. The old cinder track is only a memory now, along with our heart-to-heart conversations and shared laughter. My life is filling again with new activities and people.

Recently my former neighbour called to say he’s busy building a house in the tropics. Like me, he’s laying new track. I suspect, though, that we will both pause from time to time and glance back at the path we traveled so well together.