We took our African grandparents to Multnomah Falls this morning, a first for many of them. But not all. One was very familiar with the place.
We all lined up for photos at the famous bridge, a short .2 mile hike up. We realized that one of our men was missing. We were hoping he had gone back to the bottom, so with my zoom lens, I searched the crowd for him. He wasn't there.
We milled around for a while, not sure what to do. Some of us were worried that he may have fallen or gotten lost. We all wanted to know where he'd gone.
We slowly made our way back down to the main viewing area. We took more photos there. Z still wasn't back. We made our way to the picnic area near the gift shop, hoping he was there. He was.
He had, in the time it had taken all of us to take photos and meander .4 mile, run to the top of the falls and back. He never broke a sweat. It is exactly 1.1 miles straight up to get to the top. Our friend Z is in his 70's. He was wearing, like all days, his three-piece suit and dress shoes.
When I found out what he'd done, I gave him a high-five. He smiled beautifully, took my hand, kissed it, like he always does.
This man was born to run. He'd been here before, had made this hike already. But in thirty minutes? In his 70's? In a three-piece suit? Not breaking a sweat? Let's put this running man in the Olympics. This small Ethiopian elder couldn't resist the call of the trail. His run today was an act of beauty, of life, of joy.
I so love Abe's African grandparents. Z's run today filled me with joy. I laughed out loud when I found out what he'd done. My neighbor's eyes welled up with tears when I told her about it tonight. Transcendence. Z reached it today in the Columbia River Gorge.