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A Real “Good Morning”

By Laura Siegel

My heart was filled with joy as I walked my dog one March morning. The sun was warm and bright, my steps light, and my pockets were filled with plastic bags.

My dog lifted his leg and peed on numerous bushes, fire hydrants, and lamp posts. He sniffed, turned circles a few times and squatted. I reached down with my plastic bag and scooped up his droppings. Merrily I swung the full plastic bag at my side. Buds were springing up everywhere. The first yellow daffodils of Spring grew in a circle around a birch tree.

Down the street, a man was opening a car door. He was saying good-bye to a younger man who appeared to be his son. As I passed his house, he shouted to me, "If I see that dog near my lawn, I'll kill him."

I was thrown. This was just not what I had expected on such a beautiful day. In that moment—only a fraction of a second—I stood perfectly still and took one deep breath. As the air of that warm, sun-filled, jasmine-scented day filled my lungs, I looked across the street, and said, "Good morning."

"Good morning!" he shouted harshly.

Still shaken, I walked on.

I was pleased with my "Good morning." In the moment before I took a deep breath, I wanted to react to that man's angry words. What I would have said, I'm not sure. But in that moment when I took the breath, I said what was true for me. It was a good morning. I was happy. I was pleased that I did not lose my good moment to that man's angry words.

I also believe I detected a slight hesitation, a "harumph" in the man's "good morning," as if I had shaken him up with my "Good morning" as much as he had shaken me with his threat to kill.

After I arrived home, I sat down to write some letters and pay bills. As I was getting postage stamps from my stamp box, I noticed my rubber stamp that says, "Hand-stamped with love." I decided to stamp a few special letters with this. Then I realized, why not "hand stamp with love" the phone, gas, and electric bills? Why not let the person at the cable TV office and the garbage company experience the same love I felt that morning walking in the sunshine and noticing the first daffodils in bloom.

Laura Siegel lives in Pacifica, California.

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Thich Nhat Hanh January 15, 2020

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