Coming across a little kindness
The new go-to evening routine for my family includes dinner and a movie. Our dining table has become a makeshift workstation for my husband and I; so, more often than not, my family eats dinner together in the living room with the television as an accompaniment.
Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune were always on in my house when I was growing up.
These days, my family tends to lean toward comedies, and we recently introduced our sons to the 1993 classic “Groundhog Day,” starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. In a real life-imitates-art moment, we laughed as Murray’s character, the cantankerous newscaster Phil Conners, gets stuck in a repetitive time loop in the town of Punxsutawney after traveling there to cover the annual Groundhog Day event.
The comedic nature of the film was juxtaposed with the reality facing all of us at this particular and peculiar moment in time.
Social distancing and the directive to stay home have made me more attuned to simple pleasures that, for many years, I took for granted. A daily walk with my dog is a gift and, as never before, I relish the feeling of moving through my neighborhood. The weather is no matter; I’m as willing to be out in the sun as in the wind and rain. It just feels so good to be outdoors.
This past weekend, we strolled along at a decent clip, my dog and I. Instead of fixing my gaze on the glorious mountains surrounding us, I focused on the ground in front of me. My mind ticked off an expanding list of things to do: fold laundry, clean the house, read assignment for online class, weed the yard, complete Census, decide what to write in my column. So, I was outside, I was walking, and I was with my dog, but I wasn’t present. I was consumed by my mental list of all the tasks that needed doing, and the list kept repeating on and on. Over and over.
Suddenly, my downcast eyes caught a subtle flash of color. We stopped, and I crouched down to get a better look.
Someone had left a kindness rock propped against a nearby neighbor’s flowerpot. The rock was small, but, set against the weathered white planter, its eggshell-blue background made it stand out.
Leaning in closer, I was filled with a rush of recognition and serendipity; painted on the rock alongside the sweet image of a flying insect was simply the word, “bee.”
Founded by Megan Murphy in 2015, The Kindness Rocks Project is a national movement which “encourages people to leave rocks painted with inspiring messages along the path of life.” More information can be found at thekindnessrocksproject.com.