Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lesson in the Dust

Earlier today I was on a six mile hike on a dusty, dirt road that serves up some breathtaking views around every turn. I love this trek since I can walk for miles without running into another human being. I see lots of birds and wildlife going about their business, but rarely even see a car go by.

This morning, my peaceful connection with nature was unexpectedly interrupted. As I was taking in the view at the top of a hill, a small red pick up truck raced by me. I was startled by the speed of the vehicle on a road such as this. The driver was apparently unaware that his speed left a tornado of dust behind affecting a lone walker.

As he buzzed down the hill, I thought about all the times that I am also unaware of what disturbance or discomfort I am unintentionally creating for someone else. Either because I am in a hurry, distracted, stressed, scared or just not present, I can also leave someone in the dust. I know the red pick-up driver and I are not alone. Many of us, much of the time, are so tuned into ourselves, we lose our sense of awareness of others. We don't intend to have a negative impact, but it can easily happen.

As I dusted myself off and continued on my way, a few minutes later, I spotted another vehicle coming towards me. This driver pulled off the side of the road apparently waiting for me to pass. At first I wondered why, but then realized, he was not wanting to leave me in the dust. A moment later another vehicle came along and offered the same courtesy.

My experience with the second and third drivers was far different than the first. It felt good to have been seen and thought about in a positive way.

After a brief hello and an offering of gratitude to these drivers, I once again continued on my way reminded that the more I stay present, the better I can be aware of how to avoid kicking up dust for others on my path.

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