He stands, arms resting on the top rungs of the six-bar gate at the end of our lane. It was once a lane, access from the road to the fields behind our house, but is now part of our garden and, while its use is now defunct, the name remains.
I see this man regularly, on our road and in town; I have spoken to him on several occasions. He lives in town, about two to three miles from us, and, though certainly well into his seventies, he walks and cycles into the countryside almost everyday and regularly on our road, a quiet cul-de-sac on the edge of town with just six houses on a mile stretch. We chat if I happen to be to the front of the garden as he passes; he occasionally steps a little inside the gate to look around but not far enough inside to be considered intrusive. He is welcome here.
Then, there are those fleeting sightings – as this morning. I was near the top of the garden, near the shed and compost bin, and glanced down the garden, down the lane to the gate, perhaps 70 yards away, and there he was, arms resting on top of the gate, in his usual jacket and hat, gazing up the lane. I stopped and gazed at him for a moment, raised my hand and saluted; he returned the salute and left.