The day was very windy and I was running one of my favorite routes, three miles around the lake and up the creek. I enjoy the woods and trails, the limestone cliffs, rock shelters and caves, and the historic ford where ages ago the Cherokee detachments crossed on their way west, and before them, the Choctaw, the Seneca, the Peoria, the Lenape, way back to the Osage and the Caddo and who knows who else. Each of those peoples probably lived in this rich and pleasant valley longer than I ever will.

As I ran, huffing and puffing, I saw two women straining against the wind, at different points along the path, each woman with two leashes, one for each hand, extending straight and taut to a large dog. Two women, each attached to two large dogs. They looked to me like the dogs were serving as anchors, keeping each woman from blowing away in the fifty miles per hour wind gusts.

So, when I approached the first woman, I was about to speak my observation about the dogs being anchors, but she, seeing that I was about to speak, gave me one of those frowny looks, that said, “Don’t talk to me! I’m not in the mood!” So, I said, “Hi,” and went on.

I was approaching the second woman and her dogs, and she smiled, so I said, “Dogs make good anchors in this wind!” There’s not a whole lot of time to talk when you are running with a fifty miles per hour wind at your back. And she said back, “They’re taking me for a walk. I’m not taking them.”

Conversations between runners and walkers don’t follow a linear logic. I just took note that her observation made more sense to her than mine did. The leashes were taut because the dogs were pulling hard against the wind, pulling her along. She did not see herself as being anchored by the dogs so she would not blow away. Not that my observation was entirely wrong. It just didn’t match her interpretation. Perhaps we were both right. It was simply a matter of perspective.

When I was running against the wind, I would have been glad for anchors that I could count on, pushing ahead of me. Perhaps they were there. I just did not see them.