I have occasionally written about the denizens I have encountered along the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a twenty or so mile track used by runners, hikers, and cyclist here in upstate South Carolina. For those unfamiliar with the Greenville, South Carolina area, the trail follows an old railroad line that was named for one of the denizens I have never seen, the elusive Swamp Rabbit.
When I have written about the Swamp Rabbit it has not been in glowing terms. That’s unfair. The trail itself is wonderful, its some of the people who are not so wonderful. Usually, I ranted because of groups of cyclists riding too fast in large packs. Old men, sans shirts, proudly displaying their lily-white chests and hairy backs, both forced upward against gravity by what one friend called “Mandex”. Just what is that little roll? SOME women wearing lycra sport’s bras and little else…except for the sweetie in white on that very hot and humid day several summers ago. Oh, sweet pea, why are you running so fast? The eight-and-a-half-month pregnant woman, if she was a day, who breezed past me pushing a double stroller, emasculating me as I struggled up that final hill. Yes, I have written about them all.
At 5:30 this morning, I expected to see little of interest except maybe a deer or a possum. It was still quite dark when my friend, Hawk, and I made our turnaround before veering off the trail toward the lake at Furman University. We had seen no one, something that would change as the eastern sky began to lighten with the impending dawn. My headlamp picked up a solitary form walking slowly ahead of us. Leaning on a walking stick, he seemed to be struggling as if attempting to climb a steep hill despite being on the flat ground. He was also naked as the proverbial Jaybird. A knit stocking hat on his head, running shoes and socks on his feet and nothing…absolutely nothing in between. I actually thought he had on one of those new technical one-piece suits…well, I guess it was a one piece, just not a new one and kind of hairy at that. The three women we tried to warn seemed to be quite excited about the prospect of meeting up with him…oops, campus security got there first. Wonder how cold and rough the pavement was on the ole beany weenie as he complied after being asked to lay face down on the pavement.
I knew from the set of his jaw, Hawk was mulling over something, “Did you look?”
“Are you kidding?”
“I just wondered if he was walking that way because he was proud.”
What does possess someone to step out his door and decide, “Well, it’s not too cool. I believe I’ll just take off all my clothes and go for a walk. I will wear a knit cap so I don’t lose too much heat out the top of my head.” Could it have been National Hike Naked Day?
I also wondered why it couldn’t have been the fit young lady in the white lycra…or in this case, without the white lycra.
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