The Wisdom of Strangers



On Sundays, Hadley, my terrier, and I try to make time to get outside and just be. Sometimes we hike, sometimes we walk, sometimes we just sit and take it all in. I look at this time as a mash up of Shabbat and tree bathing. A dedicated time to invest in ourselves, to breathe, to release the accumulated stress of the week, to let go of time, and to ponder life.


Last week, to take advantage of the beautiful Rocky Mountain Spring weather, Hadley and I hiked in Roosevelt National Forest. About an hour into our hike, I spotted a group of four hikers coming toward us on a very narrow section of the trail. Thinking they might have a dog, I picked Hadley up, and stepped to the edge of the trail. As the first hiker passed, I explained that I was holding Hadley because, as a formerly abused rescue dog, she has social issues. The first two hikers in the group nodded and said hi as they passed us. The third hiker stopped right in front of us and noted, “Don’t we all have social issues?”


Don’t we all have social issues? A simple utterance. But that statement held the five of us in a shared moment, creating a visceral connection, a deeper understanding of our shared humanity. And just like that, the moment passed. We shared a laugh and were all on our way.


For the rest of the day, all I could think about was that shared moment of clarity and the humble yet validating question—don’t we all have social issues?


To the unknown hiker who made the observation on the trail that day—thank you. And to Creation, for giving voice to a universal truth in the most unexpected yet meaningful of ways —thank you.


We heard you.


Robin



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