The Man With No Name

A few days ago I went for a hike–Flag Rock above Farmington, Utah. Near the summit, I met a man coming down. I judged him to be in his mid-fifties. He was in excellent shape, and had a contagious smile. He wore shorts, a T-shirt, and a Denver Broncos hat that looked like it had seen many a sunny day.

“How’s it going?” he asked.

His smile was completely disarming–even affectionate. I didn’t know this man, but I was half tempted to shake his hand and tell him how nice it was to meet him.

“I’m doing well, how about you?”

“Doing great,” he said. “Have you done this trail before?”

Have I done this trail before. How to answer that? Should I tell him that I’d been going through some rough changes in my life? That this hike had been my escape when things got really bad? That I’d climbed to Flag Rock in the rain, in the snow, and in the middle of the night? That sometimes the only thing that cleared my head, and reminded me that I was alive, was the freezing wind turning the sweat on my beard to ice?

“Yeah. I’ve done this trail before,” I said.

Another smile. “Well then, you’ll be happy to know the north side is finally clear.”

“No more ice?” I asked. I usually came up the south side, and returned the same way. The north side was covered in slick ice, and could be treacherous.

“No more ice.” He said. It’s 95% gone. I also cleared all of the fallen trees and limbs except for one. It’s really beautiful, you should definitely go down that way.”

With a wave of his hand he was gone. The whole exchange had taken a minute.

I never caught the man’s name. From the summit, I saw him talking to another group heading up. He probably shared the same information. The same encouragement.

I walked down the north side, and it was in fact a beautiful hike. I decided I need to be more like this man whose name I never learned. I want to share information that helps people on their journey. I want to improve the trail, even if it’s only a little bit. Because every bit counts.

And when a lot of people all pitch in, even just a little, sometimes amazing things can happen.

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8 Responses to The Man With No Name

  1. L.T. Elliot says:

    But you see, you already do that. This post is proof. You shared goodness in the world with others and just like that hike, it beautifies the view for everyone else.

  2. Krista says:

    Thanks, Marion. You know, Laura is right. That’s the same way I felt when I first met you in person. Wouldn’t it be great if we all improved the trail a little bit?

  3. Jos says:

    At the risk of sounding like everyone else–such a Lemming–I agree that you do this a great deal, you’re always generous with your time and encouragement. The other half of the equation is being the person who stops and listens when someone imparts some assistance–and you do that too. When we all share and we all listen, it all comes full circle. I could use work on both ends. Loved your post.

  4. Tanya says:

    Very nice posting, Marion. The kind I’ll probably reflect on through much of the day. Thanks!

  5. Carole says:

    Sometimes all we can do is take to take care of ourselves. And when you can do more you do. I’m glad though there are those willing to share important information. People who have traveled similar paths, had similar trials and are willing to lend a hand.

  6. Suzanne says:

    I don’t know you, dear sir, but this post punched me in the heart. It made me reflect on all of those nameless people who have shown up in my life at times when they were needed. An old, chatty man in a Greyhound station in Chicago, the woman offering to help with my luggage at the airport when I was travelling with a screaming toddler… I’ve had my share of gracious, nameless people. I like to think that the world is full of them, and that (hopefully) sometimes I’m one of them.

  7. Andrea Kelley says:

    The whole is greater than the sum of its parts (Aristotle). :-)

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