By Christine Baker
Cape Cod, MA, USA
Christine Baker and Jessie
I walk for kindness. Today, I walked for someone’s grandmother. I walked for a best friend. I walked for three mothers and one dad. I walked for two people’s families. I walked for all the 9/11 victims and their families.
In fact, today Jessie and I walked nine miles total. We weren’t on the Appalachian Trail. We were in the sand dunes of Cape Cod. I don’t think our location mattered much, because the intent was exactly the same.
We left at 5:30 a.m. to avoid the heat and we walked into another world. The sand dunes make you feel like you’re walking through the desert with the added payoff of the Atlantic Ocean on the far horizon.
Before I left, I read each of the nine dedications I was walking for and my heart swelled with love, with pride and with gratitude.
I carried them with me as I walked today. I carry each of the dedications with me every day. In fact, once or twice I looked behind me thinking there was a crowd of people at my back. I’d like to think there was. Because with every step, I know I am walking for something greater than myself. With each step, I feel more connected to the people around me, to my friends, to my family and to the nearly 1,200 strangers who have promised that they will practice kindness.
Jessie on Cap Cod
The beauty of this day was not lost on me and I don’t think it was lost on Jessie either. Dogs are remarkable creatures. They live in the present moment and I think we can all learn a thing or two about that.
When we arrived at the ocean, we were tired and sweaty. Jessie ran right into the water to cool off. Within a few moments, we had about six or seven black seals in front of us - within 15-20 feet. They watched Jessie swim, their big black heads bobbing up and down in the water. I think they were as curious about us as we were about them. We were kindred spirits on this day.
I sat on the beach before heading back and I read this quote:
Don’t believe in what your eyes are telling you.
All they show is limitation.
Look with your understanding,
find out what you already know,
and you’ll see the way to fly.
- Richard Bach (Jonathan Livingston Seagull)
Today as I walked the sand dunes and felt the heat of a scorching day envelope me, I was reminded of all the things I know.
I know that with each step we walk, someone in our Walk4Good family is out there practicing kindness.
Whether it’s a lonely stretch of trail, a wide expanse of beach, a forest of ferns thick with shade in the heat of summer or a breezy hilltop, hope, charity, community and gratitude walk with me. This I know.
Even in a concrete parking lot, a single weed will poke through. That is goodness to me. Even in the most extreme and dire circumstances, hope and goodness will find a way to take hold and grow. And grow. I know this and as I have read the incredibly touching dedications, I am reminded of our capacity for goodness. I am reminded at how much the people in our lives mean to us.
And if I am left with one thought on this day, it is to tell the people in my life I love them. You should do the same. Make time for it. Today. Because on this day, the only limitations we have are the ones we allow to hold us down.