This Day

This day should be every day.

I knew a guy whose first words, every morning before his feet hit the bedside floor, were Thank you Thank you Thank you.

I should’ve asked him what he was grateful for, back when he was sitting next to me in his underwear.

We were watching a Miami Heat game in his hotel room. I don’t remember the city, but his daughter, Skye, was there, too. We all were in town speaking at a weekend conference, and he was the event headliner. Skye and I had dropped by his room to say goodnight, and he invited us in to watch the second half of the game.

There would only be a few of these times left, but we didn’t know that then.

When you’re young, you don’t think you’ll get old.

Wayne Dyer was already there, which he joked about a lot. His body was starting to give out, after 70 years of hard living on the planet, but his spirit was strong.

Still is.

And that’s what he gave, generously, over and over and over, through written and spoken words, random acts of kindness, resources, and opportunities.

I think I know what he was grateful for every morning.

A new day, another chance.

Thank you Thank you Thank you.

This day should be every day.

The River

The headwaters of the Salmon River empty into this fertile basin, bordered on one side by the Sawtooth range and the other by the White Clouds. The Salmon begins life as a trickle, cutting through sprawling ranches and abandoned mining claims, but within a handful of miles she becomes a raging river, fed by small tributaries.

I was driving over one of those small tributaries last 4th of July, when a bald eagle dropped into the airspace above my truck’s hood. My gaze shifted from the eagle to the road, where I saw the wooden sign naming the tributary.

Fourth of July Creek.

Fourth of July Creek. Fourth of July. Bald eagle.

I could be making that up.

But I’m not.

‘Merica, right?

By then, the river running alongside the road had gained enough strength to challenge the occasional fly fisherman’s commitment to remaining upright. I passed a little boy standing on the riverbank, throwing stones at the water… literally pelting the river with rocks, as hard as he could.

The river didn’t seem to care.

She ran her course, as she had long before that little boy was there.

That night I stayed with friends at a house overlooking the basin. We circled the fire pit and talked about horses and dogs and land and sky, before drifting into mountain sleep.

We hiked the canyon behind the house sometime after dawn, and one of us noticed a small pine tree growing through the tiniest of holes in a boulder beside the trail. Life finds a way, we told ourselves.

Life finds a way.

Rivers run to the sea.

The Salmon glistened in the mid-morning sun as I followed her home. Just before 4th of July Creek, I looked to the riverbank.

The little boy was gone.