When I take my early evening walk, I’ll likely encounter another walker or two.
As we approach, I coming from one direction and they from another, we keep our paces steady, allowing for generous spacing between us.
It is at the onset of the approach that we make eye contact and give a smile.
I say give a smile, because that is how I perceive it to be.
To break the ice of this brief encounter, one gives a smile. The other accepts and reciprocates with an offered smile of their own.
The interaction takes less than a minute, but what an uplifting one as opposed to the alternative.
Meeting a fellow walker who is treading upon the same sidewalk, and you know they see you approaching, but rather than acknowledging you they stare straight ahead, is awkward. Not the kind of awkward where you ponder the event for days and tell your friends about it. Nor is it the kind of awkward that irks you. It’s just an unfriendly kind of awkward.
I get it. Sometimes you just want to shut out the whole world and everyone in it because of issues that are weighing on you, or you just experienced a bad day. But seriously, you can’t really do that in the city where you’re bound to cross paths with other people, can you? In Montana, maybe. Or in the enclosure of your home. But not in the city.
All I’m saying is that the exchange–the giving and receiving of smiles–is a good, healthy boost for the soul. Sometimes all it takes is a friendly smile. A smile given by someone in passing is just a thoughtful and kind gesture.
When I share my meals I like to see my guests smile. When roaming the grocery store I like to see other customers smile. When I walk, I don’t necessarily look forward to encountering other walkers, but when I do, I like to see them smile.
I can’t see you out there, readers of Abuchon, but here’s a smile from me to you. I hope your day is a good one.
Recipe for this spicy tomato soup, click here.
All images ©2012 Sriprae P. McDonald