There are several regulars who walk routes around Hopkinton. Runners too – running, that is – but this entry is about a particular walker.

I believe the woman walker is a bit younger than me. Perhaps by a decade or so. My husband mentioned seeing her many times picking up trash as she makes her way along her route. I noticed one time while out running but gave it no mind – until Peter shared observation, and – until yesterday.

I am one who, while out walking or running – loves saying ‘hi’ to people. Any and every one I pass. My greeting is not always reciprocated – but mostly it is. So I felt thrilled and energized when yesterday this particular woman, who I’ve only ever said ‘hi’ to in passing, saw me standing on my doorstep outside and came striding intently towards me.

“I helped my dad paint our house your same colors when I was growing up – avocado with cream.” “Really!” “Yes. I love those colors.” “Me too. Thanks.” 

“Have a good day,” she said, crossing back over. That’s when I learned she doesn’t just pick up trash. At our across the street neighbors’ front yard she abruptly stopped and bent over to pick up sticks strewn across their lawn, placing them in an already established pile by the trunk of the tree. Her simple gesture struck me.

She knows how to be a good neighbor.