Kindness Beyond Altruism

I’ve given up on the terms “selfishness” and “altruism”. Those words assume we are individuals with debts and credits in a karmic bank account that can be exchanged. Kindness, especially forgiveness, is a communal experience including even onlookers* and crossing generations. There is no point measuring it. It overflows all containers.

I remember picking up the couple in the evening as I entered I-95 in central Maine. I figured they had to go to the next town, but their destination was one hundred miles further north. They were as tired and messed up financially as I was. She was well along in her pregnancy.

That was so long ago it feels like another lifetime. I drove them to their apartment which was as rundown as the farmhouse room I was renting and left them with a smile. They never stopped smiling back.

WITHOUT MEASURING
AUTUMN SUNLIGHT OVERFLOWS
ONTO EVERYONE

*I realized this after reading Sarah Connor’s post “Kindness — haibun for dverse”.


Text: Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday.  Toni is hosting with the theme “kindness”.  I am also linking this to Debbie Roth’s Forgiving Fridays.

Photo: “Bright Leaves Bright Light” by the author.

The Path To My Home

I am only inclined to tell this story, before I can no longer speak, because no one I have been rash enough to tell it to so far believes it. Right now, I’ll restrict myself to what is believable and that is simply that a puppy followed my neighbor pushing his way up the long path through the wild grass and tall red osiers that were not beaten down by my narrow, daily footsteps. He looked like a friendly dog although I cannot remember why I agreed to take him in.

His name was Fred. I let him sleep inside my cabin containing a hand pump for water, kerosene lamps for light and a wood stove on the edge of central Maine’s vast forest lands. On his first day Fred tore open the sealed food bag and stuffed himself with dog food until his stomach bloated. When he saw me refill his bowl he knew this was home. Eventually, Fred would earn the title of “bad dog”. I forgave him. I hope he forgave me. However, that gets into the unbelievable part that I’ve promised myself I must tell, but which I cannot tell, just yet, because I am trying to make it clear how cute he looked walking innocently through that tall grass.

WATER FLOWS DOWNHILL
FILLING STREAMS FROM MAPLE GROVES
AUTUMN LOSES WARMTH


Written for dVerse Haibun Monday.  
Photo: "Orderly Entanglement" by the author.
Hear the author read this haibun on SoundCloud.