Kindness can be the real ‘killer app’ for life

It may not be simple, but it is a community builder

When I was mulling over this week’s column, the word “kindness” kept coming to mind. Not sure why exactly but the very idea that expressing that gesture to people we know and (perhaps more importantly) those who we may not know at all can be one of the most powerful ways to build the community that we typically say we want to create.

Then this very morning (Friday), I became the recipient of one such gesture.

The story began with my morning exercise routine, which involves biking along the Howard Watson Trail, one of our community’s many assets.

While it’s not unusual to have the occasional bunny or squirrel join me as I ride from Bright’s Grove to the Blue Water Bridge and back, this morning was a bit different.

On the “older” section of the Trail (the stretch between Blackwell Side Road and Modeland that hasn’t been resurfaced), a skunk wandered in front of my bike.

I stopped very abruptly and uttered the first words that came to mind, which was “Holy Crap!”

The skunk stopped but its tail did not rise, which I thought in a panic was a very good thing.

By Edward John Allen
Photo by Edward Allen

But I wasn’t going to waste any time in avoiding what could very well have been a very smelly experience, a game-changer as far as I was concerned.

So I dropped the bike and high-tailed it out of there, running away from the scene. Some 20 feet down the Trail, I turned to see where the skunk might be in all this flurry of action.

To my relief, it was wandering into the adjacent woods, paying no heed to my bike.

And that, I thought was the end of the story.

When I got home, however, I discovered that the garage door opener, which I take with me, along with a bright yellow pair of sunglasses that I recently got as part of the Run of Exploding Colour, was missing. I realized that when I had dropped the bike, the device and sunglasses must have fallen out of the bike’s basket.

Later, I did my best to retrace my steps, parking my car on Blackwell and walking down the Trail toward where I’d seen the skunk, not really being sure of where exactly that “near death” experience might have occurred, but hoping . . .

And then something caught my eye, neatly placed on one of the few benches that line the Trail: my sunglasses and the garage door opener.

Happy? You bet.

Back in the car, I saw one of the Trail’s “regulars”—Joriene Blake, a local Realtor—who was on her own bike. We said hello and fresh from my retrieval of the missing gear, I told her about my skunk experience.

She looked down at the sunglasses now parked on the front seat of the car.

“Oh, they’re yours!” she exclaimed, happily. “I put them there!”

Another small act of kindness that makes life a little richer.

Let’s keep spreading the happiness in the days and weeks ahead!

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