Viva

When I run (or bike), I have the chance to observe many people.  I see all sorts of people, doing all sorts of activities: parents and children, joggers and runners, inline-skaters and ski-skaters, husbands and wives, dog-walkers (don’t get me started on their dogs–bloodhounds, chihuahuas, labradoodles…) and read-a-book-while-walking walkers, teenagers and elderly folks, commuter cyclists and recumbent bikers.  If you want to see diversity, join me on a Saturday morning jog.  One character, however, is extraordinary in my mind.

He is a man in a wheelchair.  Actually, he appears rather ordinary: he is lower-middle-aged, has brown hair, and wears jeans, a sweatshirt (or a t-shirt, when the weather is warm), and tape (to protect his forefingers).  He is not the fastest or fittest on the trail.  When I see him, as I often do, he is steadfastly propelling himself down the wide concrete pathway.

What compels him to do this?  As far as I can tell, he is not training for a wheelchair event (I’ve never seen him in a racing chair).  Maybe he is commuting to work, but he never carries a bag.  Even if his intent is to attend some commitment, surely there would be an easier way than pushing himself down the trail?  Or, perhaps, he wants exercise, or fresh air.  Maybe…

I cannot judge his motivations from the little I know of this man.  Really, I know nothing.  I’ve never met him, or even spoken to him (aside from the biker’s obligatory “on your left”).  To me, he’s just “the man in the wheelchair with tape on his fingers who I seen on the trail”.  I don’t know his name, his history, anything about him.  Honestly, I doubt I would recognize him as a regular trail-user if not for his wheelchair.  It’s terrible to label people that way (“Once you label me, you negate me.” ~Søren Kierkegaard), but sometimes it is hard to avoid.  Regardless, why is this man so extraordinary, dare I say: inspiring?

Because he bothers to be on the trail at all.  Obviously, ambulation is a challenge.  Moving forward takes infinitely more effort for him than it does for me.  (Interestingly, I’ve encountered him on almost the whole expanse of the approximately eleven mile trail.  That’s a long ways to run, much less push oneself in a wheelchair.)  He could choose to shut himself into his home and never emerge.  Granted, that’s extreme; but even in a more moderate situation, he might not choose to roll down the trail.  He makes the conscious choice to participate.  He perseveres.

There are days when I simply don’t feel like going for a run.  I wish I could say I thought of this man on those days.  If anyone has an excuse to give up, it’s him, not me.  But he doesn’t.  He takes what he has, and he uses it.  He lives life.

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Derby Days

Another Redmond classic.  Each year, about a week after Fourth of July, the city of Redmond holds a festival featuring a parade, local businesses, live music, kids’ activities, fireworks, and the Derby Days Criterium, one of the longest-running bicycle races in the nation.

Vendors

Vendors

Live music

Live music

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Kids' activities

As with the Saturday Market, (in my opinion) it is much easier to reach the festivities via bicycle.  Bike racks are plentiful in Redmond…parking is not, especially during Derby Days when a number of streets and parking lots are blocked off for the Criterium and for vendor booths.

And one last thing, albeit of lesser relevance to the topic–some quasi-scenic images from an offshoot of trail on which I bike.

An offshoot of the trail.  It's a lot more scenic in real life, I promise.

An offshoot of the trail. It's a lot more scenic in real life, I promise.

Some grass, I thought it was rather pretty.

Some grass, I thought it was rather pretty.

Postscript: I’m still trying to work out the picture upload process–hence this post.

Redmond Saturday Market, or “An Experimental Post”

The Redmond Saturday Market, established 1976, has been a staple tradition from May to October every year in the city ever since, and is currently in its fourth location.  Featured are vendors selling mainly locally grown produce and art.  Also included are stands selling trinkets, hot food, kettle corn, or shaved ice, as well as an area that, each week, features a different local musician.

Redmond Saturday Market sign

Redmond Saturday Market sign

Open air booths

Open air booths

Covered booths

Covered booths

My purchases?  One plum, four apricots (lucsious and ripe), a half pint of raspberries (I must say I like the ones in our own garden more), and ninety-three cents worth of Rainier cherries (the cheapest I could find–I wanted the yellowy-pink, more expensive Rainiers, not the dark, cheaper Bings) all of which I consumed on the spot.

Today, I biked to the Market via the Sammamish River Trail, a bike, pedestrian, and equestrian friendly trail stretching the 10.9 mile length of the Sammamish River.  Oh, that brings up another point–parking at the Market can be a pain (usually you have to park in the nearby Redmond Town Centre), but on a bike, you can “park” right on-site.  Another plus is that there are abundant blackberry bushes about a foot off the trail–might be annoying to some, but I must say, fresh blackberries in the middle of a six mile run are awfully nice.  Overall, a good trail, although I do wish it had a dirt shoulder.

Bored yet?  Guess what?  The real purpose of this post was to experiment with the photo uploading feature.