T.S. Eliott wrote in the Waste Land (1922):
"April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain."
April certainly is the cruelest month for exercise programs diligently begun as New Year's Resolutions that fade and fail as the weather gets better and distractions proliferate.
A group of Greenwich men disproved that pessimism as they completed their first year of circumnavigating the 2.7 mile circumference of Greenwich Point each morning.
On March 29, 2011, John Harkins of Old Greenwich and Peter Berg of Cos Cob started daily walks at the Point. Mr. Harkins had just celebrated a milestone birthday and Mr. Berg was feeling a bit heavy and out-of-shape. Doctors were consulted, goals were set, spousal encouragement was received and so they embarked on a journey to fitness and camaraderie. Mr. Harkins also resolved to walk 1,000 miles before his next birthday.
They invited others to join them and those others invited others and soon there was a good sized group of senior men gathering every morning at about 7:30 am in the near parking lot to walk and discuss topics of the day. Many regulars are past or current members of the BET and RTM so politics and town gossip are frequent topics. When the Point was open to pets, dogs joined the group, including Nino, the boxer, Eva, the German shepherd, Emmet, the cute dog of unknown breed who looks like "Benji", and my black labrador Sirius Black. The group walks rain or shine when the Point is open. Last fall when the hurricane wiped out the pathway and the foot bridges were closed, the group carried on and over.
The group learned that there are others who are regulars at the Point, walking, cycling and swimming there regularly each morning at the same time. The regulars greet each other as lost friends each morning and become concerned if a familiar face is not seen for some extended period. The group's adventures are well-chronicled. Mr. Harkins writes an email newsletter about each day's walk with photographs of the ever-changing scenery and wildlife.
On March 28, 2012, Mr. Harkins celebrated another birthday and the completion of his 1,000th mile with bagels and coffee on the rock at the eastern point where the group votes on whether that particular day is within the top ten (it usually is).
On March 29, 2012, many members (but no dogs) gathered to celebrate the anniversary accomplishment at Tandoori in Port Chester over the fine lunch buffet (all you can eat for $10) washed down with delicious Indian beer.
One problem: the group still doesn't have a name. Among the suggestions are: Tod Walkers, the Sound Striders, the Point's Men, Tod's Drifters, but nothing has stuck yet. Yet another topic to discuss while walking around the Point in year two, I suppose.