Interesting moment on the trail last week.
I’m working, and running, out of town in New Hope, PA. And New Hope is situated on the Delaware river, with amazing trails on both sides of the water that parallel the old canal towpaths that made these river towns into economic powerhouses back in the day. Now the towpaths are long winding wetlands full of green and blossoms.
We had rehearsal and a show that day prior to opening, so I wasn’t out for big mileage. But as I wended my way out of town heading north up the river on a beautiful morning, I shared the trail with quite a few others, including a black woman out for a morning workout. I waved to her as I passed her, about a half mile north of a sign that said the trail was closed for construction ahead. She was heading south so had already been to the site, and I kept going north, eking out every step until found it completely blocked with heavy machinery.
As I ran back, I came upon her again, this time in conversation, near the sign, with two older white folks riding bicycles. She was pointing back up the trail, obviously trying to explain to them what I had just learned, that the trail was indeed closed, and the sign was correct. As I ran up, he motioned for me to stop. I pulled out my earbuds.
“Is it true?” He said.
“What?” I asked.
“Is the trail closed?”
It took a half second for me to realize that these very nice white people were not going to take her word for it, but were more than happy to take mine. I looked at her, then at them.
“What did she say?” I asked.
“She said it’s closed.” He answered.
I took a step closer to him. “Well, then I think you should believe HER.”
I took a step past him, then turned and looked back at her, as she stood there with what I can only describe as a weary look on her face. She met my gaze.
I pointed at the nice old couple, who were turning their bikes around, and shook my head. “White people.”
She laughed. And I ran on.