A car comes down the high street and swoops around in the road at the junction that leads you either past the church and around the dale or down past the tennis courts towards the pub and train station. As it drives back on itself, towards me, the driver smiles and waves. A male driver with a wide smile, all other features blurred by the speed and windscreen. I have no idea who it is but manage to return a feeble smile; arms remain at my side.
At what point do you start to acknowledge another walker whose path you are about to cross? There must be a point at which you seem too eager, but then again, there must also be a point when it appears too late. That quick good morning! or hello! can easily come across as curt if left until the last minute. When walking on the moors the awkwardness sets in early as I can often spot a fellow walker coming in my direction while they are still a good way off. The openness of the landscape leaves you vulnerable - you're quickly spotted in the distance and need to start preparing greetings. Don't look now I tell myself pay attention to the dog until they're just steps away then it's a quick look up, smile and morning!
I have a poor car memory.
Everyone in this village knows whose car is whose, making it easy to know who to wave to. They all have various makes, models and registration numbers etched onto their brains. I can only recognise cars by colours, but even then I still fail to match car to owner.
Maybe one day I'll develop this skill of auto recognition and will know exactly each driver passing me by. Until then I'll stay on the grassy verge, eyes fixed on the ground, oblivious to every passing wave and smile.
I'm glad there are no cars up on the moor; at least walkers are infrequent.