I was blessed today with a wonderful reminder of how small acts of kindness and truth can mean a great deal in someone’s life.

It had started out as a difficult day:  too many hours driving through extreme heat in my feisty little vehicle which lacks air conditioning.  Too much dust, and too much sweat with a hot dog in the back.

When I arrived home, faithful canine in tow, we gratefully trudged indoors and turned on the air.  Still, I felt as if we were under siege, hiding behind closed doors, windows and blinds from the incessant blaring of the sun.

So around 4 p.m., we headed for the beach.  I was wearing my ancient bathing suit:  a Speedo in a simple maillot style, but in a shade of blue I really like, and with some colourful detail around the V-neck.  I had tied a patterned piece of cloth in complementary shades around my waist as a sarong, and donned my nifty straw hat, purchased at a thrift store for a mere ninety-nine cents!, with a silk scarf adding a dash of bon vivant around the brim.

The lake was flexing its muscles, big choppy waves stirring up the sand and painting the water a dull beige.  I untied my sarong, slung it around my neck, and with my sandals in one hand, entered the water, Maz trailing behind.  It was delicious and cool, and the slapping of the waves against my fanny was a lovely reminder that the lake may be a sassy fellow, but he’s always happy to chill with you on a warm summer day.  I smiled as I watched Maz rolling with large waves that threatened to swamp him, amazed that my greyhound seems to have made the transition to water spaniel.

Leaving the water, I re-tied my sarong over my now wet suit, and we continued our barefoot trek along the shore, our feet sinking slightly into a cushion of wet sand.

When Maz stopped for a sniff, a young woman in a scanty bikini walked slightly past, then turned around and came back to us.  She was perhaps 18 or 20, with a sweet face and a gravitas that belied her tender age.  After asking about Maz, she said something that seemed to me quite remarkable.

“I’m an art student, and obviously I can’t ask you to sit for a sketch here, but I’ve been walking behind you on the beach for a ways, and I just wanted you to know that I think you and your dog are beautiful.”

Now, how’s that for a comment guaranteed to make any day brighter?

I was honestly humbled by the simple courage she exhibited in speaking so forthrightly to a stranger, and while I thanked her for her kind words, I’m quite sure I failed to adequately communicate how much those words had meant to me on a difficult day.

And it’s serendipitous, because I’ve been reading a great deal lately, in blogs and such, that the only way we’ll be successful in changing ourselves, and the opinions of our brothers and sisters, as we attempt to heal the gashes we continue to make on this beautiful planet, is by speaking from the heart.

It’s been my habit for some time, whenever Maz (and before her death, Gini) and I enjoy a soul-nurturing walk on the beach, I wait until a stone calls to me, and I take it home as a reminder of the lake’s gift.  As I left the young woman, a beautiful egg whispered my name, and once home, I honoured it with the photograph you see above.

This stone is the symbol of the young woman on the beach who had the courage to speak from the heart in a way that raised my spirits so much on this searing day.

Blessings fall on us from so many places.  The next time you have the opportunity to speak kindly to another human being from your heart, know that you may be the blessing that makes a small but important difference in that person’s life.  Just as the young woman did in mine.