Memorable Side Dishes

Memorable Side Dishes

“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.” ~Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

It was Thanksgiving last week here in the U.S. and I spent it at the home of my brother and his gourmet chef wife.

It’s a grand and gracious home, warm with love—and also a really great place to be served up a delicious dinner. Bonus.

The next day was sunny and clear. I took a walk by myself to revel in the remaining leaves clinging to the branches of elder statesmen trees.

Regal they seemed to me, the light filtering through their outstretched arms, playing shadows on the ground, dancing on the grass beneath my feet.

I stumbled across a hidden corner of a garden in a nearby park and noticed two ground plaques. Each honored someone who had passed on and who obviously must have appreciated being outside in nature.

They were mostly obscured by fallen leaves and I might not have noticed them at all had I not noticed the corner of one peeking out from underneath.

I used my shoe to swipe away the leaves, and read the words carved in stone.

“Come forth into the light and let nature be your teacher,” it read. “William Wordsworth.”

When I came upon the second plaque a few feet away, I knelt down and gently brushed the leaves to the side and took a picture.

I stood for a long time in that little garden, with reverence, staring down at the plaques and out to the field beyond, absorbing the words, allowing the sunshine to warm my face.

No one passed by, no one disturbed the stillness, no sound intruded save the occasional rustling of those few remaining leaves in the trees above me.

I was completely alone but felt… surrounded somehow.

Perhaps, I thought, the people who inspired those memorial plaques are watching me admire the view they had once enjoyed while alive.

Perhaps, I thought, I am not alone here at all. Perhaps there is a multitude who have passed on, who, through my momentary peaceful pleasure, through my stopping and noticing, experience a sort of osmotic pleasure, too.

I don’t know, of course, whether that’s even a possibility—I mean, who knows what really happens when we die—but the thought of it brought a smile to my face.

Sort of like all those delectable pecans on top of the pie I ate Thanksgiving day, or the stuffing my sister-in-law cooked up, solely a compliment to the turkey, An extra. A side dish (everyone agreed it was her best ever) but it stole the show at the dinner table and made the whole meal that much more delicious.

And those plaques… made my whole walk that much more meaningful. Stole the show.

Sometimes it’s the side dishes that linger in one’s memory.


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Cynthia Barlow

Founder Cynthia Barlow

Facilitator, Author, Coach

Helping businesses build their people

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