Today I had a “moment” I will always remember.
I started the day feeling a little depressed. The stock market has been insane and my retirement funds…well I basically just stopped looking.
My Bed and Breakfast got it’s first cancellation, and I expect many more to come. Not sure how my design business will fare.
People are freaked out and have cleaned out the stores of hand sanitizer, hand wipes, chlorox and toilet paper. What? I just don’t get the toilet paper thing. Then my 90 year old mom told me why. “When 1 person sneezes, 300 people crap in their pants”. Haha, apparently her pastor told her congregation this nugget of wisdom at church today. Now I get it:) Luckily, I have plenty of TP.
I decide I will have a positive day and get outside in the fresh air and not allow myself to dwell on fear, negativity or the virus. I decide to go on a gray whale watching trip in Kenai Fjords National Park adjacent to Seward, Alaska where I live.
The boat is fairly empty, and people spread themselves out in the booths, trying to maintain 6′ apart. I find a booth where I sit alone, after wiping off the table with the Lysol wipes in my backpack. It is a gorgeous sunny, cold day. As we head out, we see some bald eagles and sea otters. Then some Dall’s porpoises came to play next to the boat. They are super cute and look like mini Orcas.
Soon we see a large group of Orca whales. Some had calves. The males have extra tall dorsal fins. I see a mom with 2 babies and the male swimming behind them. A picture of a happy family.
Then I luck out and an Orca (adult female I think) swims up close to the boat to model for me, and then swims under the boat!
The Orcas are everywhere and I enjoyed watching this male swimming alone in the beautiful light.
We weave in and out of harbors I had not been to, and around various islands. We see a magic cove that has caves that cormorants like to nest in. We go by an area where a group of Harbor Seals have hauled out on a rock.
They feed us lunch, and later hot chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven. The scenery is beautiful, the air is fresh and clean and it is a bluebird day filled with amazing wildlife.
As we head in to port, once again there is cell phone coverage and an email pops in. I shouldn’t look, but I do. I get a message I find very upsetting. My eyes tear up a little as I read it. I decide to close it and save it for later, not wanting to ruin the day. After leaving the boat, while still on the dock, I see a cute sea otter, just hanging around and eating. Sounds like a good plan and I wonder if I have any chocolate at home:)
I head to my car, and as I reach it, it happened. My moment. A total stranger, a younger woman who had been on the boat in a nearby booth approaches me.
“Can I give you a hug? I saw you tear up on the boat and thought maybe you needed one”.
I thank her, and tell her I am OK and we “elbow bump” instead.
When I got home, I could not stop thinking about this. That someone would notice a total stranger feeling a little upset and then even during these times of social distancing want to say something and offer a hug was moving. The kindness of strangers is a powerful thing.
While some are out there hoarding toilet paper and price gouging, others are taking the time to connect and come together, even at risk to themselves.
I felt the need to share the experience so put a blurb about it on my personal Facebook page. I received more likes and comments on this than anything in recent memory. It also spurred a lot of concerned emails checking to make sure I was OK from good friends as well as acquaintances.
Kindness is apparently as contagious as the virus.
That really made my day, and I hope by sharing it with you, it will make yours too. Let’s be kind and take care of each other in the difficult times ahead.
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Art Inspired by the Ocean in Alaska
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