I had been walking along the foothills before, what the locals call, Rockwood Mountain when I came upon a man tossing stones, into the bed of his truck, from a pile of mostly head-sized rock. He was pumping them off the ground with machine-rhythm. He was getting winded though, was beginning to stagger when he would move and reset over the diminishing pile dumped at the base of a steep driveway.
When he noticed me on the road, he stopped...clearly wanted to speak, but had to steady himself against the truck bed for a couple of deep breaths before waving his arms excitedly and asking me to wait a minute, pant-pant, he wanted to talk to me. As he got his breath I rolled over to him.
He was out there, throwing stones to make a few dollars, but it was just the therapy he needed. He had had troubles at home with his girlfriend that morning. He told me a little about it, he was at his wits end. Seeing me and being able to talk to someone about it calmed him dramatically.
At the end of our conversation he thanked me for walking by, he said he couldn't believe he would be smiling that day. He was that upset.
I saw much in him that was a mirror of my past. Working to overexertion when stressed can lead to injury. I advised him to slow his rhythm. Stealing a line from a veteran I recently met, "Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast."
He was smiling when I walked away.