The lesson I missed

9 August, 2020            The lesson I missed

Not a huge lesson – but last week – when I wrote about the guy with the leaf blower – I missed the bigger lesson. If you recall (or not) I wrote “Anyway, he’s in there in his little cloud of smoke and dust and flying debris and he sees me riding toward him and he raises the blower and points it straight up in the air until I pass by!” I just have a tiny addendum to put on there, but since it is an addendum, I’ll add it at the end of the post. 

This week’s blog post is so slender that if it was a human being, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was really a skeleton. One of these weeks I’ll put some meat on its bones! 

I’m aware of the repetitive nature of my dog/river pictures. But there’s just nothing i don’t like about them! Mackey turned thirteen this summer and he gets around great but his old haunches have a tough time so we’re staying off the real steep rocks. No climbing to get on these!: 

Look at those guys! We were ALL at our favorite place!

Speaking of repetitive nature, dogs and hawks are the two items (plus the river) that appear in most of my blog posts. I got this one around a block from our house Wednesday: 

Red-tail near home Wednesday

And Ev’s flowers, naturally. She’s growing a lot back there and I snap a few pictures when the light is nice. This one’s bright and has a bee flying over it: 

Flower with bee taking off (or landing)

I keep my camera behind my driver’s seat when I go places. I had just taken my fase mask off after I left Kroger and walked back to the car yesterday evening. It was 7:55 PM (sunset was at 8:10) when I photographed this mourning dove perched on a wire over the street: 

Evening mourning

Yikes! That’s really slender! Ever heard the expression “you can never be too rich or too thin”? This blog post is too thin. I’ll forage for a few calories this week. Let me jot down that tiny lesson I mentioned earlier: 

= = = = = = = = = = = 

When I saw that guy stop blowing leaves to let me pass, and he was so gracious, it was very mano a mano – just the two of us were out there in the heat, and we weren’t communicating – except by his kind gesture. So I’d had that gesture in a very limiting one-on-one framework. It didn’t occur to me until later (after talking with Evelyn) that anyone reading this blog post would have done the same thing if they’d been the ones blowing leaves. It’s just what people do. Everybody could imagine themselves riding a bike through that mess and not want to do it – so they hold off for just a second. I mean, think of somebody you really don’t like, someone you have a real difficult time getting along with. If you had ear protection in and a real loud leaf blower and they were riding toward you on a bike, you’d still stop to let them go by. I think that’s an instinctive response toward other human beings. It’s not like you’re running into a burning building to pull a person to safety. It’s just a reflexive gesture of kindness. Everybody does it. It’s another great thing about being alive. 

That lesson that the kind gesture was universal rather than individual – that’s the one I’d missed. I read the news too much! 

 = = = = = = = = = = =

Have a great week! Come back next week! 

All best, 


About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Birds, Bryan Park, Dogs, Endurance, Flowers, Fun, Insects, James River, love, newfaze, People, Pony Pasture, raptors, Red-tailed hawks, Rivers, simplify, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!), sunsets and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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