Finding Gold in the Grass

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A couple months ago, after a long, chilly, morning gorge walk, I was dragging my feet down the road in the direction of the house a mile away. Exhausted, exuberance is not an exaggeration of the emotion that flooded in when I saw Jim driving toward me.

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As I jumped in the Ranger, relieved for the ride, I reached in my back pocket for my phone. I know from experience that unless I hold my phone in my hands the jostling of the ride will wriggle it out. Exasperation. My phone was not there.

Jim and I started to retrace my steps.

Good news, I knew exactly where I was on my walk when I last had the phone.

Bad news, that was a 20-minute walk from where we were.

Jim met me in the road at cedar bear, the name assigned to an old cedar stump that stands on end. From a certain angle, it looks like an abstract standing bear with his front paws extended. All the little kids and kids at heart who come to visit love it. I love it.

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From cedar bear, we headed over the hillside ridge I last cut across, following an animal trail through scrubby agarita and primrose bushes.

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Not remembering the exact path taken once the animal trail disappeared, we spent time zig-zagging through the bushes examining the clumps of gold-colored grasses.

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Did I mention I have a gold-colored iPhone case?

With no success, we continued down the back slope of the ridge to meet the road I walked earlier.

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Searching for the phone on the road seemed an easier task, but still no luck.

Follow the road in the picture above as far as it leads, and that is where I first entered the road from my trek.

Still tracing backward, Jim and I turned off the road to the right.

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I was somewhat sure I had walked the ribbon of rock that circled the hillside. At least I thought so.

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Oh, and did I mention my phone is gold? My luck, this ribbon of rock is strewn with gold colors.

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Follow the rock ribbon in the picture above to the rusted fence post and then head down the hill.

Bad news, the challenge increases as I didn’t wholly hug the fence line as I walked, and the grasses, I mean gold grasses, are thicker here.

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In the picture below, see the cut in the cedar trees as the hill drops off? That is where I hiked out of the gorge.

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Good news, see that pile of dead cedar right next to the cut in the cedar trees as the hill drops off? That is where I know I last had my phone. Whew. We wouldn’t have to hike back down or back up the other side.

Look on the ridge all the way across the gorge and you will glimpse a tiny sliver of the road where I started my gorge walk. Whew.

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A little bird saved me. Or, at least a little bird narrowed my search for gold. Earlier, as I climbed out of the gorge and passed this thicket of dead cedar, I spotted a little bird flitting through the twigs. I used my phone to confirm his identity — a rufous-crowned sparrow. Thank you little bird.

Good news, bad news — I knew I didn’t have to go any further, but we had not found my phone on the first pass of retracing my steps.

We headed back up the fence line in the direction I had originally walked.

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Back across the rock ribbon.

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Back along the road to the hillside in the distance.

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Still no phone.

Next strategy — Jim would drive the Ranger to the house to retrieve his cell phone to try the “find my phone” feature and hope to locate my phone.

I stayed on the hillside by myself, searching through the scattering of agarita bushes.

In life, when you look closer, you see all sorts of things.

In Comfort, when you look closer, you see rocks.

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I didn’t think I would feel excited about finding anything other than my phone, but as I was searching the ground a perfect heart rock appeared. I picked it up, thrilled at the discovery.

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Ping!

At that moment, I heard it. It was my phone — the ping of a text message coming through.

I still couldn’t find it, but I knew it was near.

Ping!

The second notice of my text.

Jim arrived. I still hadn’t found my phone. I shared how I knew I was close to finding it.

We searched further together, Jim calling my phone so we could listen for the ring.

Can you find the phone in this picture? It’s there. I placed it for the photo precisely where I found it.

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Gold in the grass. Delight!

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The text was from my friend Claire.

After all that searching over that entire distance, and as I was looking alone, and just when I discovered a perfect heart rock, my friend chimes in signaling my phone was close; I was in the right place; just look a little closer.

I thought the coincidence was uncanny.

Jim didn’t think it was so uncanny. What are the odds my friend Claire, or if not her, my friend Whitney would text me? It is a common occurrence for one or the other to be contacting me.

It is also a common occurrence that in an uncanny manner the three of us contact each other at coincidental times.

Often, when I drive home from Comfort, and I’m about 30 minutes from San Antonio, right as I pass the exit to Claire’s place, ping… it is Claire. When I am taking a photo at the ranch and imagining Whitney would love to see this, ping… it is Whitney. When I am with either Whitney or Claire, ping… it is Whitney or Claire — whichever one is not with me.

I wish there was a way to photograph a trace of these incidences to paint the picture. You would read for hours if I worked my words to describe how often and in how many strange ways this connection occurs.

Not wanting to tag supernatural forces to coincidental timing, here is what I believe. I have great friends who stay connected with me.

I am only one month into being a “blogger.” If you read my Introduction to my Blog, you learned I was hesitant to write a blog. But, here is my one month report.

The connections I have made through this blog are not uncanny, they are golden. I have heard from friends, from friends of friends, from family of friends, from friends of my parents, from friends of my kids, from family far away, and from new friends who I have never met.

Thank you.

And, thank you for sharing your stories back with me.

After reading the post on longhorns, How an 1800lb Animal Can Comfort your Life, an uncle shared his love bond in the making through training a new dog — how this hound is a daily treasure who has captured his heart and is ahead of schedule on her course to the title of Master Hunter.

After reading the post, Walking with Mom as She Forgets How to Walk, the closest friend to my parents recalled a conversation she had with my father sharing how he felt after my mom was diagnosed with dementia. He told her it was one of the best times of their marriage because he could entertain my mom and devote himself to her in a way he could not during the busy years. What a gift to learn a loving tale from my father as he managed a trying time.

After reading the post, Arrive at the Lost Madrone Ranch, where I share the anticipation, glimpse, and arrival to a special place, my sister, Linda, responded, “the entire part 1 —where you are describing your feelings as you travel and approach the ranch — made me connect to my feelings about the boat. I often describe to people that as I travel home from work and cross the 14th street bridge into DC, I leave my “work” life and enter into “vacation” and a feeling of freedom thinking about being on my boat. We are different but the same.”

I know my sister well. I speak to my sister on the phone all the time. A lot of our talk is concerning care for our mom. Thanks Linda for all you do! And, now we know we share a common experience of emotions when we arrive at the places we each love.

Searching for my phone took me from exasperation to delight. Yes, the primary means I stay connected is through my phone, a tool intertwined with my entire day. But, storytelling has me thinking deeper about the power of sharing narratives to learn more authentic ways we are each connected.

A few days after my blog launched, I received an email from a dear family friend — a friend of my parents since my father was in seminary. She wrote that she looked forward to keeping up with my family through the blog, and then she expressed, “The full moon (snow moon) over the mountain is gorgeous tonight, and I am sure it is beautiful over the ranch also.”

What a lovely connection.

I appreciate your being connected. I appreciate so many of you sharing our connection with your connections. Your connections are meaningful, and I am grateful.

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