SAUCIER — Wandering out loud


At first, I thought that it was someone out for a walk, but the hill was long and the rise steep, so unless they were in training, they could have picked an easier route.

As I drove closer, I could soon tell that this wasn’t just someone out for steps or a stroll.

The walker had on a coat too heavy for the warm morning sun. A backpack lay humped over that coat.

The figure stopped, perhaps to catch a breath. As I passed, I could see that it was a woman. She carried another, smaller pack strung over her chest. Large, blue-rimmed glasses framed a flushed face.

Catching me gawking, she waved. I waved back and went on.

Finishing my business at the post office, I soon spotted her on my return.

Again, she wasn’t walking. She had made little progress and was now bent over, holding on to the guard rail.

After our first encounter, I felt I should stop. I made a U-turn and parked on the apron of a driveway.

As I hurried down the hill toward her, I shouted, “Are you okay?”

She looked up at me and said something that I could not make out in the noise of the traffic.

When I got closer, I asked again, and this time I could hear her respond, “Oh I’m fine.”

I asked her if I could take her somewhere and she graciously declined. “I’m just going up the road a bit and I don’t mind the walk.”

She bent over again, and I was beginning to doubt her words until I saw that she was staring at something.

It was a little blue violet growing between the guardrail post and the surrounding asphalt.

“Everything wants to live,” she said.

“That’s the advantage of walking uphill,” she continued, “you tend to look down more and see things others might miss.”

“I almost stepped on this a while ago,” she said, reaching into her pocket and pulling out an old, battered and blackened penny.

“I know it’s probably not worth anything, but of all the people who pass by here, I’m the one who found it, so it kind of makes me special.”

I asked her again if she wanted a lift, but she just took one last look at the violet, readjusted her packs and glasses, and started walking again, head down, waiting for treasure.

“Have a blessed day!” she yelled back with a smile.

I already had.