I live in a rural neighborhood of rolling hills and gorgeous vistas.   While the area defines my home life, it also serves as my open air gym where I “work out” by walking whenever I can.

Yesterday, while walking , I encountered a young neighbor boy who I have known since he was a tyke.  I use the word, “know,” in the simpliest form as, truthfully, our neighborly encounters have consisted of moments when he is out in the yard and I stop to enjoy a brief chat.  In fact, I don’t even know this young man’s name.  Regardless, over the years we have fashioned a friendship from passing hellos and occassional exchanges and he has always proven to be most engaging and kind .

Yesterday, as we shared our traditional hellos, he hesitated slightly, seeming as if he might be in need of conversation.  So I stopped.  We began to chat about the weather and his impatient desire to get his motorcycle on the road.  Not knowing much about my young friend, I took the conversational path where it seemed most appropriate.  I asked about his job.  While his words returned in positives, the tone of his voice said otherwise, so I began asking more.

Seems he works for a heating and cooling business, which provides him with a salary but not much to sustain or inspire him.  I asked about his education and he explained that he went to college for motorcycle and engine design and repair.  Again, while his words told the story, the tone of his voice this time let me know that this work was his true passion.

I asked if there weren’t motorcyle shops around where he could work—which turned out to be the key query for my roadside buddy.  His eyes enlivened as he replied that he had just returned from a shop in Batavia that could hire him.  Responding with positive enthusiaism, I asked if he would mind driving that far.   This time he broke out in a smile that brightened his whole being.  He explained that it would be ok because the company could pay him a good salary for his work.

Suddenly I realized that this gentle manchild was telling me in a roundabout way that he had just gone on a job interview and found employment in the field of his dreams.  I began jumping up and down with joy; partly because I am currently trying to follow my professional passion and found his success encouraging….partly because it was inspiring to see this young man joyously transform before my eyes as he shared his good news.

As I congratulated him, my neighborhood friend slowly reached out to me.  Momentarily unsure, I  quickly realized that  he was searching for a simple hug, just like any child.   I responded by wrapping my arms around him and telling him that I was so proud of him.  And as we stepped apart and said good bye, this kid was beaming like a lighthouse beacon in  the midst of a pea soup fog….                         

…and I was realizing just how good walking can be for my health.