Jan 3, 2010

a Barry Manilow new year

Started this new year with two smashing lessons about attitude and openness. The first came at 7:04 when Galen burst into the bedroom and said "There's broken glass." Emerged bleary-eyed to find an impressive round hole in our heritage-glass front window, and a sad Zekiah explaining that his home-made tinkertoy catapult invention had shot backwards instead of forwards. Too tired to be angry, I found the bright red tucktape to cover it up, then the beautiful origami star from our neighbour to beautify it. So we start the new decade with a bright red star sparkling in the middle of our living room window.

The second came when I took our friends 10km up the mountain to the historic Kinsol Trestle (highest wooden train bridge in the British Commonwealth), the only mud-splashed car in the little parking lot, then out of nowhere a man appeared on the path. A man with a speech impediment, cognitive/social challenges, and a medical marijuana card he proudly showed me. I understood about half his talk about Vietnam and hippies, but tried to respectfully connect then disconnect with him so I could focus on my children and friends.

But walking on the same narrow mountain path makes it difficult to politely ignore a man who desperately wants to talk to his "bro", so I had to let go and try to enjoy what I could of him, and let my friends at least enjoy their walk in Peace.

Then as we neared the bridge the sun poked through the rain. I exclaimed something thankful, and he broke into an operatic cover of Barry Manilow's "I made it through the rain." Being one of very few people ever to hike that trail who knows all the words, I instantly joined in. We finally connected, laughed, and saluted brother sun who'd miraculously come out to greet us for the first time in 2010.

Then just as miraculously, when we reached the bridge he said, "Happy New Year" and turned back up the path. All that time I'd been afraid to engage because he wouldn't ever detach, and really he was the one who knew just how to connect and when to end it. He walks that path every day, and as I said, "I'm sure I'll see you up here again," I meant it.

Will this be a year of being open to what life and accidents and strange mountain men have to teach me?


  1. Wow, Rick, that's a great lesson in opening up and practicing true tolerance and love. This sort of thing happens to me in the emergency room, with "annoying" people who've woken me up with their often petty complaints, but who inevitably end up showing me something beautiful in their humanity--like the drunk guy with a gout flare up at 2 a.m. New Year's morning telling me all about the gorgeous soul food meal he was going to cook that day, if I could just help get his ankle feeling better, apologizing for bothering us so early in the morning, promising to bring me a plate of chitlins and black eyed peas. He never showed up, but his sweetness despite his pain and situation (dirt poor and offering to share what little food he did have with us) touched me deeply and I was glad to have him as my first patient of the new year. So, thanks for sharing. I hope we all can let the opportunities to open up, let people in and let love happen flow and heal us this year/decade/and so forth....

  2. Check out this excellent blog posting by Danielle LaPorte about much the same thing: http://whitehottruth.com/inspiration-spirituality-articles/idiots-cultivating-openness