I’m riding my bike along West Cliff, a beautiful bluff overlooking the Monterey Bay. I do this pretty regularly. I love my bike. I love the bay. You never know what you’re going to see. Whales? Otters? Dolphins? Lately, there have been tons of shore birds. They migrate here in winter. So I’m riding along, and, as usual, I pass this spit of asphalt that juts out from the bike path and overlooks the bay. It’s what’s left of an old road or bike path, one I assume got washed away at some point. I often pull over and sit on it awhile. It’s like having my own little bayside deck. It also looks down on the beach where Dixie and I first kissed twenty-eight years ago, so it has special meaning. Today, however, I’m planning to ride past. The exercise feels good. That is, until I see something turquoise sitting on the asphalt promontory. Trash? I think, and pull over. I cannot abide trash at this sacred site.
It turns out not to be trash. It’s a river rock painted bright blue with the word Compassion on it. I get off my bike, and take a moment to meditate on why I needed to see that word today. There are so many reasons! Compassion for my friends who are going through tough times, compassion for my country that seems like it’s going to hell in a hand basket, compassion for people who seem to be steering it in that direction, compassion for those who I believe to be misguided, and lastly, compassion for myself because sometimes I can be so un-compassionate.
I reach my hands up to the sky to stretch, to allow myself to feel the bigness of this thought, and an old man passerby shouts to me, “You have a bright future!” I turn and laugh, and say, “I hope so!” To which he responds, “No, you do! I can see it! You’re on the right track!”
What a sweet blessing he gave me. And what a reminder it is to be kind.
In honor of him, I would like to do a shout out to some women who I feel surely must have bright futures ahead: Jove Belle, R.G. Emanuelle, and Andi Marquette, the fine hosts of this awesome site, and each of them excellent writers. It takes a lot to keep a site like this going, and we all, writers and readers alike, benefit. Meanwhile, these three are building up some massive good Karma, making the world a better place—one blog post at a time. Like the old man said to me, “You’re on the right track!”