The Space Between Them

When you’re trail running, sometimes you don’t see people for a long time. It could be miles or an hour or two. And when you finally happen upon one or two, it’s almost shocking. Every sense is concentrated and every detail about this person or people in the landscape is absorbed. When there’s more than one person, the space between people and what it might be saying is the most interesting part.

The Space Between by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014
The Space Between by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2014

I happened upon these 2 men at the top of a steep mile-long climb up Rhus Ridge. Where they are standing marks the transition to the more gentle though exposed terrain of Chamise Trail from Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve. They were so absorbed in conversation that they did not notice me or my huffing and puffing at all.

The space between them is too large for them to be friends. The fact that they are slightly facing each other means they met there and were not continuing on together. Each person’s physical stance frames the space between them. The expansive and earnest posture of the man on the right and the closed but comfortable posture of the man on the left means the flow of information is going one way and they are both okay with it.

When I ran by them while eating a pretzel, the one on the left asked me if I had enough to share. “Of course,” I offered. But he declined and I ran on and the space between us stayed the same.


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