the Kindness of Strangers

I’m grateful for the kindness of strangers. In this case, I was the stranger who rescued this ancient tree from constriction by barbed wire. It’s on the land next door, but I couldn’t stand seeing the tree being strangled by old fencing. I pulled off all that I could. Then I hired Wilson and Juan to cut and untangle the rest. You can see where the tree had grown around the wire, and a place just below the top band where it completely absorbed a loop. I don’t need to read the latest tree science to know this tree was suffering. (But I’m reading it anyway.)

I’m grateful to know other people who would also extricate a tree from a fence if they saw it. I’m grateful to know people who rescue dogs and cats. I’m grateful for people I don’t know who rescue dogs, cats, trees, and other people, either because it’s their job or because they see a need and fulfill it. I’m grateful to have received the kindness of strangers many times in my life: that cowboy on a lonesome stretch of Interstate 10 through west Texas back in 1988 who stopped and changed my flat tire; that little old lady in the waiting room with me at the cataract surgeon’s, who taught me how to knit dish cloths; that Haitian immigrant working in the Auto Parts store in West Virginia who was so nice making sure I got back on the road that I cried; and countless other random acts of kindness from strangers along the way.

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