We give ourselves too much importance. We are not that important. Few human beings live for more than a century. These trees have been around for millennia.
John Steinbeck wrote, “The redwoods once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always… from them comes silence and awe. The most irreverent of men, in the presence of redwoods, goes under a spell of wonder and respect.”
It’s around 9:30 AM and I am stopping at the Cream City Cafe in Ferndale for a warm beverage.
I park my bicycle outside and as I walk to the counter located in the back of the restaurant to place my order, I pass by a large table full of older folks in an animated conversation. I remind myself of the old advice, “Be the first one to say Hello,” and so I open up a smile and say “Good morning.” We immediately engage in a conversation. They want to know where I am from and where I am heading to.
When I mention that I am Brazilian, Anna tells me of her Portuguese origins. Her family came from the Azores Islands and she tells me that there was quite a large number of Portuguese immigrants coming to the area. I tell her that I lived in a city in Brazil that was originally populated by immigrants from the Azores Islands. We exchange some words in Portuguese and she tells me about family members that she lost contact with but that she would like to see again.
We have a lovely conversation about Portugal, Brazil, the US, and how life puts us on different paths… how we get to know new people and lose contact with other folks.
As I leave, I reflect about the quote that some people are in our lives just for a season, but everyone is in our lives for a reason.
We are all students and teachers for one another, and we all are put in situations where we can learn and teach. We just need to Pay Attention and Be Alert. So I remind myself, “Piero… Pay attention! Be alert!”
I ask myself, “Why did I have this encounter? What lesson did I have to learn, or be reminded of? What lesson did I have to teach?”