Dave and I have spent Memorial Day weekend in the mountains of Northeast Arizona. Beautiful area, great hiking, and total relaxation. Except that is not exactly what happened yesterday. L.N., one of our Labs, has had some issues with her back end. No, not that kind of issue. The kind where her back end doesn't seem to work as well as it should and when she gets up from a nap, it looks like she has baby fawn/Bambi legs for a few minutes. So, when we get the dogs up in the SUV, we lift her up. Except that isn't exactly what transpired yesterday evening. Nope. As I tried to lift her into the SUV, she threw her head back and head-butted me....in the eye. A bit sore but no blood, I figured all was good. Until I woke up this morning and my right eye looks like I played dress-up with some spare blackberry juice. Dave has been great about it.....and by that, I mean he laughs every time he looks at me. :)
So, what better activity to do than to take the Labs for a 6 mile hike in the mountains, far far away from civilization. Translated, that means we hiked through creeks (which results in muddy mess after the girls jump in the creek than hike along the dusty trails), climbed under huge felled trees that had been victims of the Wallow fire in 2011 (resulting in soot on our backpacks and arms and legs), and just had an overall filthy time. So...(see previous post about the use of "so"---I'm still in therapy for it) we were all alone except when we came back towards our cabin, I had to stop for a Diet Coke with crushed ice at the local Circle K.
As I entered the store, a couple were getting in their old, beat-up pick-up. It was way too loud but the sound didn't stop a gal from almost backing into them. I shook my head at Dave as if to say "Oh brother....great company around here, right?" When I checked out, the man in front of me (who may have actually had some leftover breakfast food hanging from his beard) was buying a 12-pack of beer. The clerk said, "Hey there, how are you doing?" to which the guy with. the. beer. answered, "Just headed in to work." Good grief, I thought to myself, as I quickly tried to check out and get back to the SUV.
As I climbed back in the SUV, I began shaking my head at Dave, regaling him with tales of "the sorts of people" who happened to be in that Circle K. Dave simply nodded his head slowly at me, as I looked down at my shorts that had dried mud streaks from an excited Lab jumping up on me after jumping in the creek. As I looked in the rear view mirror to back up, I caught sight of the beauty that is me right now complete with berry-berry-black-eye. As I reached up to touch my tender eye with my Cheeto-stained finger that must have handed the money to the store clerk only moments ago, I had to laugh outloud. What Dave was quietly and unassumingly trying to point out to me, I was finally realizing: I was being critical of the locals when I, myself, was looking like a zombie swamp creature loose and in town for the day. Black eye, muddy, Cheeto-stained and all, everyone had actually been really friendly to me. Maybe, just maybe, I should be less critical and seek a little more to understand.....
Just for today, perhaps we should remember that everyone has stuff with which they are dealing. Maintaining a sense of humor and love for our fellow man will likely aid the process.