Sometime in the mid-nineties I stumbled across the new county park located about 1 mile outside of town. I was going to start running again after several years of retirement. I could not believe my luck. It was at one time a large farm, and now it was about 50 acres fenced off for our use. There are rolling hills, a stream that passes through, a barn, beautiful fields that are filled with queen annes lace and honeysuckle, goldenrod and purple flowers in springtime.
I love it and have been running cross country there for years. It was my secluded private joy. Then the people began coming. I had to learn to share.
About four years ago I began to notice a black jeep that would pull up along side the service road, under the trees and just sit. It was creepy. I memorized the license plate just in case something happened. The whole thing made me nervous.
After a while, he began to emerge from the jeep and do a series of jumping jacks,push-ups, and some fancy kung-fu moves. Finally he would run.
I began to expect him, and look for him. I felt him a benevolent presence at the park, as if he were watching over things, keeping us safe. I began to think of him as "The Dark Angel" because of his black sweat pants, black t-shirt, black jeep.
He stopped coming last year. The park is totally over run now with dog walkers, nature strollers, and the whole highschool and middle school male and female cross country teams. It has become crowded.
He was there last night. I smiled at him, I know his name is Glenn. I felt safe again now that Dark Angel had returned.