This evening, after the outside temperature had cooled down a bit, I went out for a walk along the lake. It was almost 8pm. I figured that I was done socializing for the day, so I would do some guerilla giving in our neighborhood. I took with me a folk music CD thinking I would leave it on the bench on the corner of the lakeside path for another walker to pick up. I really enjoy choosing gifts for dear friends, and selecting items to donate to charities, but I get a special kick out of leaving things for strangers to pick up. When I pass by the spot where I left the object and see that it has been taken, I can’t help wondering who picked it up and what they will do with it.
This evening, it wasn’t even thirty seconds after I left the CD on the bench when I bumped into a couple of parents who I’d seen at the block party the other evening (see June 6). I stopped to thank Rick for his delectable devilled eggs, when from behind me appeared my friend Freddie, who I hadn’t seen in a while. For the next 10 minutes or so we walked together and talked about the various changed he’s hoping to make in his life and then exchanged rants about the state of the nation’s education, healthcare, etc. Then just at the point when I was set to turn round and head back, I caught sight of another friend Laurie who I hadn’t seen for ages, who doesn’t even live in this neighborhood. We hugged and caught up as fast as we could on the main points of our lives, promised to get together this month sometime and parted company smiling widely. I walked a couple of minutes back along the sandy path looking towards the lake at the Canada geese, seagulls and other assorted wildfowl who call this body of water home. Suddenly something caught my eye above me – one of the Great Blue Heron was circling overhead as she made her way back to her nest. In the nest was another bird, as large as she was now. The two birds clattered away at each other, causing the other walkers on the path to point and look upwards. Just ahead of me were more familiar figures. A dad from the school Peter and his daughter Piper were walking their dog slowly, as if stretching out every second of their evening walk together. Piper just graduated from our local elementary school last week. Her dad, like us, is undoubtedly bewildered by how fast those elementary school years have sped by. We exchanged words about our prehistoric bird neighbors, the cheeky local raccoons and brazen coyotes, and about the school Piper will attend after summer break. Father and daughter crossed the road to investigate a garage that doubles up as an art studio and we all waved goodbye.
As I neared the end of my walk, I exchanged smiles with another neighbor out walking her dog as we passed each other. Then on my final block, I spotted a young fellow-mother friend Miele skipping along barefoot with her baby strapped onto her front, enjoying bonding with her precious new child in the coolness of the evening air. When I had passed the bench where I had left the CD, I saw it was still there. I shrugged my shoulders to myself. That was ok. Someone would stop and pick it up tonight or tomorrow morning, and chances were that it wouldn’t be a total stranger.