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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 10, Number 1, March 2016

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Mary Myers
Tucson, Arizona, USA


An Odd Number of Role Models

Two Saturdays in a row!

Trying to take charge of my health, I am hiking the paved path up Tumamoc Hill in Tucson. Twenty-one years in the Old Pueblo and this is only the second time I've walked this road.

It's a cardio-fest with dozens of empty cars lining the street adjacent to the hospital that is adjacent to the hill. Unlike the ritual ascent of Issa's snail that climbed Mt. Fuji . . . slowly, slowly . . . Tumamoc is conquered in avoidance. Shedding their metal shells, the walkers, hikers, and runners move with spiritual speeds intent on postponing a visit to the opposite side of the street.

I'm trying to beat last Saturday's time just so the rising sun isn't in my eyes on the first switchback up the 600 foot high, mile-and-a-half trek. I am looking for examples of fitness in the shapes, strides, and breaths of those around me. So many are a decade older than me, yet most seem two decades fitter.

Although I pace alone, differing agility levels dispatch snippets of conversations, some going up, some down: ". . . your week? Good. I saw . . ." ". . . then the resource teacher . . ." ". . .sit with 'em, call 'em companions and pay 'em minimum wage. Isn't that . . ." ". . . he said he wasn't there. That's crazy! Then, where was . . ." ". . . don't know what the hell I'm going to do. No one else . . ." And I also hear a couple of passing conversations in languages I don't understand.

I stop only as another hiker pauses to point out some wilder life nearby: five mule deer, making the journey with the rest of us.

the silent scent
of sagebrush
heaving lungs

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