In lieu of a thrice-postponed anniversary trip to Ireland, this past week my husband and I traveled two hours away to the coast of Massachusetts… Newburyport to Gloucester. While on that trip of few expectations and even fewer plans, we were blessed time and again by the restorative salt (i.e., that which adds essential life and flavor) of good people.
A sweater that slipped off my purse near the shore on Friday night (which we couldn’t find upon retracing) sat perched the next afternoon atop a small stone monument in a well-traveled spot, undoubtedly placed there by some good soul with hopes of a reunion – and left untouched by many more good souls. Salute, good neighbors! A commercial fisherman (Danny), a computer programmer (Charlie) and a just-retired journalist (Shawn)… three locals and friends who made room for us at the famous Crows Nest in Gloucester and happily shared stories of the sea and their community with us, and happily listened to some of ours. The painter in Rockport with whom we quickly found a shared interest in the beauty of cows in a pasture, the evening sun casting its last rays on the side of a barn, the white of a sail mirrored on the water.
You might sit beside me as I recount each small but essential tale and – if your heart isn’t open to the wonder of the invisible – you might walk away thinking the details of my vacation were far less lustrous than my exuberance in sharing them.
If ever you’ve seen beyond the visible and experienced the joy in connecting with the ethereal-yet-undeniable goodness within others, then you likely understand. For seeing with – and connecting with – one’s heart is the very invisible essential gift depicted by Antoine de Saint-Exupery in the classic tale of The Little Prince.
Yes, with the original travel plan I’d have spent the past seven days amongst majestic sights and wonders to behold. And yet, I feel none the less for having ventured not so very far at all from home, and experienced the essential and humble and restorative nature of the goodness of neighbors.
Not to mention, I bring back my very own sweater as a souvenir.
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