What a great morning to be out and about. The site of bright colored joggers passed through my windshield as I made my way past the glorious landscaping of Handley High School’s front lawn and all of the beautiful houses surrounding it. Trust me, the houses look a lot different than they do passing through the usual streets back home in Georgia because the Virginia and the Virginia Tech flags are flying and are plentiful in each yard that I pass. But, it’s always a peaceful time to be on the Old Town pedestrian walking mall in Winchester on Saturday morning before the shops and restaurants open. It was only my second time doing this, but it’s slowly becoming a habit. I enjoy the progressive ideas and events that the town has to offer and each week something new seems to catch my eye. For example, last week there was a Downtown Football Tailgate with craft beers and live music. Most of the major football games were displayed on flat screens in an outside and open environment. I passed by this morning and they had signs out that thanked people for coming out and making the event special. The streets were cleaned up and they already had new advertisements out for the next beer festival in October.
As I walked down the brick streets this morning I learned something. Well, actually I learned a couple of things. I had my mind on getting a coffee at the Espresso Bar and Café which was on the opposite end of the walking mall. I passed everyone who was out this morning on the mall and I passed one family with a little girl. The mom and dad were both down on one knee playing with her and she was chasing a leaf that was blowing around in the, near fall, air. For me, when I saw her chasing that leaf I thought about how awesome it would be to flee back to the state of innocence where the only things that mattered were chasing leaves and building sand castles. Well, that was a nice thought, but it made me realize that the workweek was over and that it was a day for me to play, too. It really helped me to realize that!
It felt nice to be out this morning, not only because the weather felt nice, but also it felt nice to see a small town economy breathing. The walking mall still has locally owned family businesses that get steady foot traffic and seem to be well patronized. There is construction going on and people are building new things such as a bed and breakfast that will soon overlook the walking mall. It’s really nice to see happy people here.
As I walked to my car, enjoying my hot coffee, I saw two military helicopters patrolling out in the distance as well as several, seven or eight foot tall, sun-flowers growing in front of an urban city apartment near the George Washington hotel. As I continued walking I thought about the symbolism of those two things. As for the sunflowers, no matter how much concrete we pile on top of the earth, there is still good soil beneath it. Beautiful things can grow in positive environments no matter the circumstances.