It just happened.
This is the first day in more than two weeks that I’ve awakened to our house all our own. Yesterday, our family company left.
Even though they are family, close family, I want them to feel especially welcomed. That means making enough coffee for everyone and planning that we have enough food on hand, even when I, in this case, am not the one doing all the cooking. It means being quiet sometimes to not wake everyone up too early and then having to talk —no just sitting with myself that I prefer to do often.
It takes a lot of energy for me to be around people. So, today I am especially thankful for being here in my red chair. I’m especially thankful for being able to wake up, make my own kind of coffee, and sit here without expectation. Maybe that is how I am to approach more of each day. To just be in what is.
That’s what happened the other day when I was walking the dog.
For the first six weeks, we were here, we lived in an Airbnb on a “no exit” street, which means it dead-ended into the ocean. There was a cut through to a lovely city park with off-lease trails that was a popular spot for dog walkers. My dog, Hunter, and I walked there several times a day, stopping often to relish the view, observe the abundant and unfamiliar flowers and trees, and stop at one of the many benches that faced the ocean and the Olympic Mountain Range in the distance. Often, other dog owners greeted my dog and me and often ask how old he is or what breed.
Our new neighborhood is bustling: a shopping mall a block away, a middle school on the adjacent street, and lots of people walking to the bus stops, coffee shops, and a college campus that is a few blocks further down the same street. Walking the dog isn’t done as leisurely as walking through the park trails and rarely does someone speak.
I’d driven past a golf course and noticed a walking trail that wasn’t far in the other direction. Hunter and I set out on a different walk down the same busy street that took us there. We passed several “senior” apartments along the way. It’s not unusual here to see ladies behind walkers or pulling carts with groceries or gentleman on scooters or even gray hair peeking out from bike helmets as riders pass in designated bike lanes.
So, that’s what happened. We walked along the narrow sidewalk and moved aside to make room for the lady and her walker coming our way. And she stopped.
The lady stopped to ask about Hunter. She talked to him and told him what a good dog he was. She stroked his head and patted his back gently. Then, she told us, the dog and I, that it was so good, just to get to pet him. She smiled and I did too, as we both went on in opposite directions.
I felt lighter. Such a simple thing, in the everydayness of my life, made a difference in the day of the lady we stopped to greet. The encounter wasn’t planned; it was an organic act (mostly on the dog’s part) that emerged from being out and responsive to one person, paying attention. It was abundance.
To just be in what is.