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  • Writer's pictureJayna Newbold


Dear Hearts,

If you follow me, you already know how much I enjoy hiking. On a very recent foray into the California Redwoods on one of my favorite go-to trails, I hiked alone (as I often do).

The first leg of the hike was only about three quarters of a mile consisting of a straightforward flat dirt path -- a popular one with families due to its ease for young children.

As I strolled along, a mother whose age I guessed to be in her mid-to-late thirties passed me along with four boys around the ages of nine or ten years old. Three of the boys exhibited typical kid behavior: collecting rocks, chasing lizards, running ahead, and then back to the woman. The fourth boy, however, participated in none of this activity. In fact, even his appearance and countenance was quite separate from the others.

Although this lad did easily interact with his comrades, he carried himself much like an adult, wore a collared shirt as opposed to the common t-shirt clad by his friends, and his neatly coiffed hair was perfectly parted down the side in a straight line. With definite energy or chi, he sauntered with a slight swagger in place of walking or running; somehow, he maintained an unhurried stride keeping pace with his mates.

As he passed me, he winked -- and with a sardonic smile, held up a dime and offered it to me.

"Want some money?" he asked, placing the coin in my hand and continued walking without waiting for an answer. "It's lucky," he added.

"Thank you," was all I could manage to utter, having no idea where the dime came from or why he would randomly hand money to an adult stranger. This boy, with his easy nature, movement, and confidence could probably run for office even at this moment -- and win.

His mother witnessed our interaction and softly chuckled. I turned to her and said, "He's always like this, isn't he?" She smiled and nodded.

Yes, Dear Hearts. He's that kid.

The group passed me, only to encounter them again on their way back about fifteen minutes later. As they approached, I called out to him, "Hey, thanks for the dime!"

Again, with the same smile and ease of mobility, he stated with the assurance of a world leader, "You're welcome."

The group disappeared toward the parking lot. I pocketed the dime and kept hiking toward a trail that led deep into the woods for about two and a half miles -- the best part of the hike because I usually have it all to myself. I remove my shoes and enjoy hiking barefoot on the cool dirt path and am quieted as I allow the Redwoods to speak. These one thousand plus year old trees have been through fires, wars, storms, diseases, you name it. Yet, they have healing properties among themselves and for others which are part of their mystery and beauty.

But the lad has made an impression. My thoughts turn from idyllic Nature to curiosity about a whimsical young man-child who seems more mature and confident than a grownup -- perhaps a future Commander-in-Chief; yet, he clearly still enjoys being a kid. In addition, I acquired an admiration for the mother who takes it all in stride with amusement and acceptance.


I can always count on an adventure -- refreshing mind, body, and spirit -- when hiking in the Redwood forest.

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