Yesterday I heard and felt the message.
The day started with a networking event at 7:30 AM on the far west side of town and of all the people there, I won the door prize- a huge planter. This would have been perfect for anyone with an office job, going back to an air conditioned building where this planter would get water and love. Instead these geraniums and ivy vines had to sit in the back of my portable scorcher greenhouse of a car, my VW Beetle, while I carried out the rest of my day.
My next appointment was on the far east side of town with a couple. The notes from setting the appointment made it clear that the wife set the appointment while her husband was in Arizona. He was a Veteran and wanted cremation, she wasn’t sure about cremation but she wanted to learn about it. When I approached this beautiful, new, nicely landscaped apartment building in the middle of a “Keep Up With The Jones’s” type of neighborhood, this extremely obese, permanently-angry looking fellow met me at the front door but wouldn’t let me in, not even into the building. He claimed he had no idea about the meeting, his wife forgot, and he could care less about my services (they requested the information). He rudely shooed me away and I left feeling a bit amused and offended. What did I do wrong? I was doing my job and with no ill will.
This short “meeting” meant I had time to hit my favorite tea house, Macha on Monroe Street, early. I’d make some calls and then go for a hot run in the sun with my friend Crystal. I texted her as such and drove west to this more centrally located spot.
Just as I started my little venting over my first tall glass of iced tea, Crystal showed up in her running clothes. “I thought I’d just come on over.”
This actually was great. There is nothing like a good sweaty run to rinse away negativity smeared all over you from a despicable man.
I changed into my running skirt and we stepped outside to a glorious mid-80-degree sunny day. The apple and cherry trees blushed pink with blossoms, lilac bushes boosted their scent with the breeze, and the birds sang like their life depended on it. “Let’s head to the zoo!” Capital idea.
As soon as Henry Vilas Zoo was in site, however, we realized we were not the only ones enjoying the day, as waves, strings, parades, bus loads of children with lumpy chaparones who could barely walk swarmed the zoo and sprawled out to a good one block radius around the vicinity. “Let’s head to the arb.” Capital idea.
The Arboretum was only a couple more blocks ahead from our path along Lake Wingra. The trees’ shade, the slight lake breeze, all were healing. Already any venting Crystal and I had had been vented. Any whining or woes exhausted. We were jogging and taking walk breaks now with smiles on our faces. We turned around at the 2.5 mile indication on my iPhone Nike+ app, and shortly afterwards, Crystal halted and backed up.
“I don’t know why I had to stop and look at this but I just did.”
What we stopped to stare at was a baby snapping turtle the size of my palm, laying on his back in the blazing sun, toasted. His neck was stretched out and to the side, his little claws all curled in, motionless. Poor thing.
I picked him up, “Yep. He’s dead. I should at least get him off the road.” I tossed him into the shallow bank of Lake Wingra on some weeds with a Splat! as his shell hit the water. His little left claw moved, like a weak wave for help. We gasped. He’s alive!
“This is why you stopped, Crystal. We can save this little turtle.”
I picked him up again, this time turning him over and gently splashing him with water, all the while cooing at him and telling him what a good boy he was, that he’s going to be alright. He just needs to cool off, stay in the shade, hang out in the water, and take it easy for a while. All four of his legs started to slowly move. Eventually he moved his head. I surveyed his shell again. It was completely intact. No cracks or chips. He was just fine. I figured he probably got knocked over on his shell from a careless bike rider, couldn’t get flipped over, and got heat stroke.
What a good feeling to have saved that turtles life.
Crystal put him in the lake, in the shade, facing the lake not the road, and we wished him full recovery.
When we got back, the plant in my car was wilting. I gave it to Rachel at Macha and she immediately showered it with water. “It’s fine if it stays here.” Another life saved.
Just an hour later I got a phone call from a new manager from Neptune Society, thanking me countless times for helping his new rep with so much “useful information and resources.” We chatted briefly about other ideas of mine that he thought were great and promised to immediately implement. Again he thanked me so much for my generosity and selfless help. He couldn’t thank me enough. What was this day telling me?
No matter how many times we get run over, left on our backs in the sun to fry, or slammed in the face for no good reason, we can’t always expect someone else to come to the rescue and make everything OK again. But when someone does, the gratitude is not easily forgotten. Keep doing the right thing. Good things will follow.
Today I’m going to give generously to myself and plan to be grateful. You?