I actually went out to walk this morning, this cool beautiful morning, and I was going to do my usual walk in reverse because I had to stop by the post office to mail a few things and so I went up the hill at the beginning where I usually go down the hill at the tail end, and a neighbor was in her yard and we got to talking. As we do.
After a little while she said, "Would you mind if I walked with you a ways today?"
"Of course not," I said, although I never walk with anyone. I like my own pace and I like to listen to my book as I walk. But...I could not say no.
And so she went and got her shoes on and her walking stick and we walked up to the horse farm together and we chatted and talked and although the pace was quite slow and I felt as if I was wasting my time in at least the physical aspect, I soon settled down in my thoughts and realized that no, this was not a waste of time. We discussed a lot of things and she told me about several trees that I'd always wondered about and we saw a gopher turtle disappear into his red clay burrow and a rabbit, hopping across the road. She told me about the bears she's seen in that area, and about how a mother rabbit will run away from her babies if there is someone threatening them, to draw attention away from them. She told me that her dream is to live in a little house deep in the woods and to grow her own food, to live quietly and peacefully. That she could eat mustard greens three times a day for the rest of her life.
She told me she'd had one baby who'd died as a child.
When we got back to her house, we had a little hug and she said, "Maybe we can do that again," and I said, "Yes, I'd like that. I really enjoyed this."
"I did too," she said.
You never know when you step out of the house what will happen. You never know when you step out of our rut what will happen.
Possibly gifts. I've spoken to this woman many times and had always seen a side of her that was bitter but today, I saw a softness, a gentleness that has been there all along and for some reason, she allowed me to see that.
And I was grateful.
I will never forget how, when we saw the turtle she lowered her voice to almost a whisper to tell me the story of the turtle who used to visit her yard with her baby to nibble on the grass every day.
Around here they say that if you see a turtle, it's good luck.
I think it is. I really do. At least I feel lucky today, just to have seen that turtle, just to have heard that story.