On Saturday, October 27th, 2003 –
I got up early – with nervous anticipation –
for a walk above St. Andrews.
I had suggested getting together for a sip of conversation,
but quoting Kierkegaard, you thought a walk in the deer park
was preferable to coffee in a cup at a shop.
You were right.
We were scheduled to meet at 11:00 am.
Since I woke early, I walked the back alley to the North Point
for a scone, and black coffee, and to manage my nerves.
Fearing not knowing what to say, or running out
ways to be interesting, I scratched out 50 different
questions to spark a conversation,
in case silence settled between us.
I put the scribbled questions into a black pouch,
and met you at your house. We walked, up the hill,
westward, past the Grange, our future home, and
found a worn lane between fields of farms.
We never needed that bag of questions.
Our conversation was easy and unforced, yet serious.
There was a quality of your mind, I remember, reflected in the care
of each answer that quickened my pulse.
It still does.
We talked about Peterson’s micro and Hunter’s macro;
we discussed political theories of difference,
and homiletic forms of imagination,
and the burdens that drove us here,
and as we shared we never missed a step together.
This walk opened my life. For from
that moment on we never stopped walking
together, nor ceased from our conversation.
A life-time later it seems – four jobs, three dogs, two kids, a
home, and eighteen years on –
I am captivated still by your answers to
the questions that flow from a single
walk that began on a Saturday
in the Kingdom of Fife.