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Being present

Hiked this trail last weekend. Now Mama, before you put those hands on your hips in Heaven with that Rebecca Ann look, I was not alone. Well, granted, yes, maybe technically; but.

This park is not far from my house and I love it. I usually walk out in the open, rarely taking the more secluded trails because they do meander off into the woods, and I am usually walking by myself. But last Saturday dawned with such perfect Tennessee weather that I was betting the place would be busy, upping the safety factor. Sure enough, just as a rising trail-head that I’ve been wanting to explore came into view, I saw a young couple ahead of me start to climb it. I veered that way, figuring I’d be hiking just far enough behind them to keep a respectful distance, but not so far that they couldn’t hear a yelp in the unlikely case I needed to issue one.

And it worked out. (Except for that uphill part. It really didn’t look that steep from the bottom but then again I’m old.) No matter. Every step was peaceful and beautiful. So much so, that I had to stop for a couple of pictures and, by the time I resumed walking, I realized my unaware bodyguards were gone. Before very many more steps, I came to a fork. There was still no one in sight, so I did a mental head toss and started to turn right. And just like that, here came my buddies down the trail from some point above. They must have turned left and then decided to change direction. We nodded as I let them pass by with a silent thank you. Once again they were right where I needed them to be for me to enjoy the rest of a great morning.

I have no idea who these people were. And they certainly never gave me a second conscious thought. Which reminds me – there are plenty of opportunities to act with deliberate kindness, and thankfully so. But there are also times we don’t necessarily know how – or even that - we are helping someone. Sometimes, just our mere presence is enough. That’s pretty cool.

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