Kindness multiplier – I saw it happen

13 December, 2020 Kindness multiplier – I saw it happen 

It was like I’d put a random act of kindness on the table, and another person said “I’ll see your random act of kindness – and raise you a random act of kindness.” It’s sort of a boring story, but it’s also sort of an encouraging story, and I’ll put it at the end of this post. After the “usual” stuff. 

This first picture was taken by yet another kind-hearted stranger – and I forgot to ask their first name! One of these days I’ll remember to do that. People were so kind today – it was a joy to be there. Whoever you were, thank you: 

Thank you stranger!

Whoever took that picture this morning, if you ever see us again, please say hello! And tell me your first name! And thank you!

If a week goes by and I see an owl at Pony Pasture, you’ll see it in this blog. I just looked back on my blog. The first Barred Owl picture on my blog was on May 15, 2011! That post even has pictures of my mom and of my wonderful old dog Ivory! Check it out at Flora – and some fauna 

Anyway, that’s not the point. This blog post is #469 since I started back in early 2011. This Spring will mark the ten year anniversary of this blog. I have photographed Barred Owls hundreds of times. And when I photographed one today (I photographed one Tuesday too), I got the same thrill I get every time I see one. It just does not fail. This is from Tuesday: 

100% smile worthy – from Tuesday

I just realized I took a picture a moment after that to demonstrate owl camouflage. Here’s the identical picture, taken practically the same minute, not using a zoom lens. You just don’t glance up and notice these birds – ever:

If someone hadn’t told me it was there (over a year ago) I’d have never known

This bluebird was from Tuesday. I never tire of bluebirds either, but my experience of photographing songbirds (passerines) bears no resemblance to my experience of photographing owls and hawks and eagles and ospreys (raptors). Bluebirds are just trying to get something to eat, just like every other creature in those woods, but they don’t kill mammals or other birds. It’s an illusion, but they look peaceful: 

It’s always a good day to see a bluebird

I got some “double” red-tails on Wednesday morning, but they had their backs to me and the light wasn’t good anyway. A couple hours later, one had flown off but the other turned around to face the sun: 

Red-tail soaking up the sun on a cold December morning

I think I’m going to wrap it up! I can hear my editor yawning. Have a great week! Read this little blurb and come back next week. All best,


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Raising the stakes on kindness

I have no shortage of things to smile about. It’s one of those instances where gratitude becomes self-fulfilling. But this morning after our hike at Pony Pasture, Mackey and Turner and Yuki and I were headed back west (upstream) on Riverside Drive. A young couple was walking up the north side (closer to the river) of the road. They were pushing a stroller and walking a dog – personally I think it’s easier walking a pack of dogs. At least dogs keep pulling forward. 

I could see a car coming toward us on the other side, so I pulled over and stopped so I wouldn’t crowd the little family to the side. Everybody does that. It’s a random act of kindness but we don’t acknowledge it as such; it’s just what you do. Anyway, the car coming toward us on the other side saw what was going on (the driver did). So they stopped. And they flashed their lights at me! Saying (unmistakably) – “No, we’ll stop for a minute and let you proceed up the road.” I refer you back to the first sentence of this section, “I have no shortage of things to smile about.” Because I’d made myself feel good by giving the young couple a break, then the folks in this other car made themselves feel good by giving me a break because I was giving the young couple a break! 

As I break it down and type it I can see it’s sort of boring and sort of petty and sort of minor and generally inconsequential. But I went away feeling good. And I’m sure the folks who flashed their lights at me went away feeling good. And that couple with their infant and their dog, I’m sure they were feeling good. It was sunny and warm and the river looked blue and shiny and life giving and it was difficult (IMO) to imagine a better place to be. If next week is half as good, it’ll be a huge success. I hope yours is too. 

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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.
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2 Responses to Kindness multiplier – I saw it happen

  1. Elizabeth S Adams says:

    Chag sameach! (i.e. Happy Holiday)

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