On Thanksgiving Day I had much to be thankful for.

Liz and I had gone up to Amicalola Falls State Parklodge for the holiday.  Wednesday night at the lodge was quiet, with a breathtaking winter sunset over the North Georgia mountains, followed by a very full orange moon that rose up into the western sky before dawn.

Thursday morning, before the big feast, Liz settled on the outdoor patio where she could take in the mountain view while elevating her recovering broken ankle. I set off to explore some of the trails in the park.

I started on the “Walk Inn” Trail, which is also one of the approach trails to Springer Mountain, the southern point of the Appalachian Trail, then branched to another.

It didn’t take me long to get caught up in my hiking mode, where I hear, smell and see only the beauty all around me.  The trail was filled with exposed tree roots covered with wet fallen leaves, easy to catch and trip an unwary foot.  After tripping more than once, I reminded myself to stay vigilant. I bemoaned the fact that I had left my walking pole at home.

I saw several groups of hikers, maybe, like me, out working up an appetite.  One hiker, a pretty woman with a warm voice, called out to me, “Happy Thanksgiving, are you walking alone?”

I explained that my partner was up top at the lodge with an injury and I was out taking advantage of a beautiful fall morning in the mountains.  She wished me well and, walking past me, yelled back, “Find yourself a good walking stick.  It will make the walk a lot easier.” Then, in a heartbeat, she turned and said,  ”In fact, take mine.  We are close to the end of our walk.”

I took it and noticed the top was two-pronged, still rough from where it had been broken off a longer stick.  It was warm from her touch and her generous energy, now shared with me.

I looked up into the canopy of trees above me and proclaimed, “Oh my gosh, I am the beneficiary of a random act of kindness.”

“Thank you”, I said, smiling at her, “Have yourself a wonderful day.”

In a moment, an already beautiful day became more glorious.