So I saw this mitten when Bud and I were out on our daily foray into nature this past week. Just a lone little mitten laying on the path that folks of all sizes, shapes and stages take to walk or jog or run or bike. Just one little mitten having dropped out, or been thrown out perhaps, of a running stroller as the parent engine was jogging and probably not seeing very clearly what the small rider in the running stroller sidecar in front of them was doing. What have they to do really during the long and interesting trip they may not have had much of choice to embark upon? I suppose they can sit quietly and let life come at them and choose to close their eyes and hope for the best when the path ahead looks dangerous. Or maybe they lean into the unknown and when it looks dangerous or scary, throw a mitten and squirm in the protective harness and give a yell at the parent engine that everything isn’t always okay, and they may need to pay attention.
I sometimes wonder if they wish they had goggles, the short-legged toddlers in the running-stroller sidecars. This week the wind has been blowing like we’re used to in western Kansas, and the leaves and the dust and the pollen and pieces of paper and used tissues (ewww) and Styrofoam cups and all kinds of things were blowing around on the path. Do those little one-mittened children in the sidecar strollers wonder how come the parent engines wear protective eyewear but, while they are mostly bundled up to the point where they can’t move, rarely do they have little sunglasses or chemistry lab goggles. Maybe the parent engines hope their small riders will close their eyes and fall asleep in the rhythm of the running feet and the cushioned movement of the large tires and the shock absorbers meant to ease the roughness of the bumps along the journey. Rest is not always a bad thing.
And what do they think when they see a big black 4-legged beast running toward them pulling a lumbering old high-mileage pastor behind them? Do they wish they had the words to yell to the parent engine to veer sharply off the same old path because the beast is big and the holder of the purple leash and spiked collar seems to be daydreaming about birds, and streams, and glass ceilings, and Jesus, and bridges, and walls, and hate, and love, and fear, and peace and, well, everything but staying in control of a 4-legged purple-leashed beast? And once the beast with the purple leash is past, do they grasp the stuffed golden-beaked crimson and blue (can it really be called a bird?) baby J-hawk that some well-intentioned if not a bit manipulative grandparent gave them for their birthday, and dream of one day running into Bill Self at the final four wearing a baby J hat, about to graduate with a degree in political science and women’s studies?
Yup, just one lone little mitten resting on a pile of leaves as Bud and I were jogging past. I didn’t let Bud grab it, and I didn’t move it, because sometimes trying to be an answer to someone else’s unasked question isn’t the best way to go. And when we were out this morning, it was gone. My hope is that the parent engine with the stroller sidecar and rider had come around again and were relieved to find what they had unknowingly lost.
Happy Thanksgiving, from my grateful heart to yours! May the paths you take be filled with the possibilities of peace and kindness, the deep knowledge of what it is to be seen and welcomed, and the beauty of world filled with creativity and authentic love. And may every lost mitten in your life be wonderfully if not unexpectedly found!