Saturday, October 3, 2015

Soften a Heart with Kindness and Courtesy

So I adopted a dog two weeks ago, the same week that my youngest daughter, Gracie, married her best friend, Tommy. Which was the day before my son, Brody, and his wife, Laura, gave birth to their twin girls, Lily Maria and Charlotte Louise. Which was a few days before I purchased a home with my oldest daughter, Sheridan and her husband, Mike. Which was the same week my middle daughter, Meredith, was looking for an apartment so she could move out of her dad's place and adopt a pup of her own, a German shepherd named Rex. Which brings me back to the point of the story, adventures with my adopted rescue dog Rosie, formerly "Summer."

Now I have a whole new schedule. No more sleeping in 'til the very last second; there's a furry friend on the bed who needs to be walked before work. No more throwing the running shoes on right when I get home; dog has to go first or she flips out. It's okay, I will adjust and it's all worth it. Unless...I actually DO get flattened by a mountain bike on the trail next time we head that direction. Sheesh. The trail signs in the foothills clearly and graphically remind cyclists that walkers have right-of-way, with a reminder that bikers and horseback riders must yield. Rosie and I were minding our business, enjoying the crisp fall air along the pathways trail in Los Altos Hills, when without the slightest warning a headphone-clad, scruff-shaven mountain biker comes screaming down the hill. Not able to figure out his intentions, my adoptee and I freeze to stay out of his way--knowing that he is in the wrong. He glares at us, sniffs, and goes skidding sideways to avoid us by only a few inches. In a terrified squeak, I manage "hello," hoping to get at least an "oops" out of him. No way. He speeds up and I then I take license to squawk a choice derogatory term. For which I felt justified, until today. 

It was equally gorgeous outside, so Rosie and I had to partake of the trails again. Still gun-shy from the near miss on Thursday, we decided to try another route, where we were less likely to share the trail. Not so. This time, it wasn't a mountain bike, but SIX road bikes whizzing by on single track. I remembered the j--- from before and gave the first guy in the group a sneer, paying forward what the j---- mountain biker did to me. Hmmmph, I thought. I'll be darned if we get rammed off the trail again. 

Either they sensed my brush-off, or they were simply nice people--thank goodness. Each and every cyclist in the group as they went past said "Hello!" and "Have a great day!" Niceties like that, and the guilt came rushing in. By the third well-wisher I was smiling instead of sneering. That's all it took to restore my trust in trail cyclists again. The abruptness of the earlier encounter melted away and I felt quite cowardly for giving the rude guy a nickname. These six cyclists with their kind words and smiles softened my heart while traveling the trails. Rosie and I will remember this bright spot and use it for inspiration, hoping for the opportunity to make someone smile the way a group of six macho cyclists did for us in the hills today. 
Rosie the shelter dog takes in the stunning architecture and trails at Hidden Villa in Los Altos Hills, CA

No comments: