Spring has finally put in an appearance and seems to be serious about sticking around this time. Unfortunately, it is still way too early to do any serious gardening up my way just yet. So I took advantage of a beautiful, sunny day recently and hopped the bus into town to do a little shopping and visit my favorite health food store (they make these decadent chocolate cookies with avocado that are to die for).
Around lunch time I got a veggie pita sandwich, and some pineapple coconut water to-go, and walked over to the sweet little park that surrounds the county court house. As I sat on a bench munching away and enjoying the antics of the resident squirrels, my attention was drawn to a young woman in her late 20’s who had stopped beside one of the giant maple trees adjacent to the gazebo. She was digging something out of the wallet she was carrying. That something turned out to be a folded piece of paper. With her head down as if she did not want to be seen, she wedged the paper into a crack in the trunk of the tree, then simply walked away. She had sunglasses on so I could not see if she was happy or sad. She never looked back.
I have to admit that I love watching people and have often assigned myself the task of making up stories about complete strangers that intrigue me for one reason or another. Sometimes they are mystery stories, sometimes love stories, sometimes tales of sadness or of renewal. This time, however, I was seriously hooked. What was in that note? The time and place of a secret meeting? A illicit love affair? A break up? Had she said yes or no? I wondered how long I would be able to hang around to see if someone actually came to pick up the note before I had to leave to catch the bus home? Who knew that when I went out in search of sunshine and chocolate cookies that I would stumble on an adventure!
Sometimes our best adventures are the ones we don’t plan in advance. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to be more spontaneous and more flexible, with my time. There are some areas in my life where I have regular time set aside for things that are really important to me like morning prayers and meditation. For anything else that doesn’t require me to be somewhere or do something specific, like a doctor’s appointment or a family gathering, I like to take some time in the morning and ask myself, “What can I do today to make myself happy?” I can’t begin to tell you what a difference that has made in my life since I started doing it. I could never have imagined doing this when I was younger and so caught up in the dreaded “should’s” that I kept putting myself last instead of first in my life. Now I put myself first and every day is Adventure Day if that’s what I decide to choose.
So, back to our mystery. Checking my phone I saw that it was just about time to head on over to the bus stop to catch my ride home. As I was gathering up my lunch mess to toss in the trash can on the way out of the park, I saw a young man approach the Secret Tree, as I had decided to call it. He was about the same age as the young woman who had left the note. He was obviously a hard- working man which was evident from the worn work clothes he wore, his soiled baseball cap and the lunch box he was carrying. Looking around to see if anyone was watching him, he stepped up and took the note out of the tree. He stood there for a moment reading it, and then a smile spread across his face. It was a look of pure joy. Had she said yes? He folded the note back up and put it in his breast pocket, then stepped back on the path and made his way along the same route the young woman had taken earlier. Whatever the note said, it had certainly made his day. Another mystery to work on! Don’t you just love a good adventure?
And so it is.