A few years ago, my sweetheart and I were sitting by an ambitious little river in Northern Thailand watching oxen grazing on the opposite bank. Hesitantly, a thirsty calf strayed to the lip of the river. In the same moment, with a series of wildly joyous yips, a golden retriever threw itself into the currents.
Hastily, the calf retreated, legs buckling like soft green bamboo. Its firm but encouraging mother nuzzled it back to the river. It slid first one hoof, then the other, into the water and began to drink. The patient mother stood by her calf’s side until it had finished. Meanwhile, the retriever seemed to watch with quiet pride. We were strangely and powerfully moved by this sweet and simple scenario. Such is the unspoken mood of the town we couldn’t leave. It is the kind of place that you could drive right through if you weren’t paying attention.
This is a town that refuses to put on makeup. It whispers and bellows and laughs and chatters. It’s an amblin’ town, not efforting to make anything happen. Because of that, things do. It hasn’t outgrown its sense of community. Connections still happen, and they don’t have anything to do with business networking.
One morning a 6-week-old puppy, Vodka (so named because his person owns a bar), was hit by a truck. Everyone within earshot stopped to see if they could help. Two locals who practice Reiki (Ray-KEE) a form of energy work used for healing, scooped the squealing puppy into their arms and started giving him this channeled energy of universal love. After a couple of hours, Vodka began to squirm so they put him down. He danced off on four fat legs, whirligigging his tail in gratitude.
Certainly, the energy work helped. However, what was most striking was the obvious fact that Vodka was securely wrapped in a blanket of love and care by everyone involved. He knew it, they knew it, and a small but significant miracle occurred as a result. When we left town several days later, he was still being tended to by the community—and was frisking around the streets.
When was the last time that you slowed down long enough to ask someone “How are you, really?” and mean it? Connecting can be cool– really, really cool. It just takes a little courage and initiative. Like the young calf, if you’re thirsty for true connection, be willing to get your feet wet. And If you happen to fall in, a helping hand will pull you back to shore.