Magical Meet Ups

by Maria Theresa Maggi on July 1, 2018

Magica Meet Ups quick pastel sketch by Maria Theresa Maggi

“Magical Meet Ups,” quick pastel memory sketch by Maria Theresa Maggi

I have taken to telling myself that walking around my neighborhood and down onto the beach has become the equivalent of going to the Moscow Food Co-op back when I lived in Northern Idaho. From the beginning there’s been no denying that it’s pointless to be in a hurry while taking a walk down to the beach access or on the beach, but the longer I live here, the more likely it is that I will also stop or be stopped to talk to neighbors I know, and those I’ve never met. This past Sunday was a magically supreme example of this. It seemed like we didn’t get 75 yards before yet another magical encounter took place.

It’s always been that since I got Romeo so many years ago and began our twice daily walks, I was blessed with meeting the best people on the Paradise Creek Trail, who often became–and still are– treasured friends. At the beach it was no different. It was on the sand between the trailer park and my current neighborhood that I first met the couple who encouraged me to move here and have made me feel welcome and ferried me to the grocery store and the dentist whenever I needed.

I like to think of myself as slipping through the world a lot like Obi Wan Kenobi in the first Star Wars movie, as if I have a a cloak and special powers that make me invisible. Or maybe it’s just that I’m all wrapped up in whatever daydream or thought process I’m unwinding while I walk, or entranced with what I’m observing in my surroundings. So taken up by these things, I do not consider myself “noticed.” However, I’ve come to find out that many people DO regularly notice the dogs and I walking around, and either marvel at it or welcome an opportunity to tell me so and engage me. In the last couple of weeks I’ve introduced myself to two different neighbors and they’ve both said, “yes, I know who you are.” This made an old friend of mine and I laugh very hard on the phone about how we may think we’re doing one thing (soaking up the benefits of the peaceful surroundings relatively unnoticed) when it may be all together different than that (drawing attention to ourselves just be being who we are).

On this particular Sunday morning, we took a longer way to the beach. My thinking about this was it would give the dogs a chance for their “constitutional” business, since Romeo, at least, does not particularly care to do his on the beach. As I walked by one house with a moving trailer backed into the garage, I came upon a woman who had introduced herself to me at the beach access and who I’d seen and enjoyed chatting with a few times. I said, oh cool, is this where you live? I always like connecting people with their houses. And then she told me, you know what? I just figured out you’re the Maria who writes the blog. I’ve been following your blog for a few years. Now that was a real serendipitous delight, plain and simple. I laughed out loud. We both did.

Since these things often come in that magical number three, I’ll call that magical meet up number one.  The second and third happened on the beach,  and came as a package deal. They were a direct gift from trusting Cotton’s “Silken sense.” I generally don’t allow the dogs when off or on leash to move or pull toward whoever they please. They know to look to me and wait until I say yes or no. Even friendly Cotton has gotten the hang of it. Cotton was loose and had been playing with his toy when he felt compelled to go down the sand toward the water and loop back towards me very close to this man in a bright green jacket. It was like he was trying to connect us without breaking any of the rules. I smiled at the man as we passed and said the dog was friendly. Just behind him was a woman who turned out to be his wife, and she waved to me and asked me what kind of dogs I had, which is often the start of a conversation that can lead in all kinds of amazing directions.

This one was no exception. The woman and I talked so long and intently that her husband circled back to join us. From the dogs who are so well behaved came the conversation that I have trained them to help me with my mobility. From there came a mention of my health challenges. And from there came my general description of what I eat

There was a quality to their listening and their questions that showed a distinctive intelligence and curiosity and a genuine interest. They were asking me questions that allowed me to try and describe what it felt like to have the inflammatory response lowered by what I ate. After a while, the woman said, “we’re both doctors.” The husband is a surgeon and she is an allergy specialist. It was such a wonderful experience to have them say to me that my layman’s way of describing how things had improved for me could be described by an actual scientific metabolic process. They were fascinated and genuinely interested and I felt it was indeed a serendipitous blessing to have met them.

The conversation around food had started with them telling me that they were here to celebrate their anniversary and where they had gone to have a good dinner out the night before. They have had a home here for fifteen years and I’ve no doubt walked by their house in my wanderings over to the community garden by the Gleneden Beach Fire Station. The surgeon told me a story of how Dr. Gregor’s book “How Not To Die” had literally fallen off the shelf into his cart at Whole Foods back in Portland. His sincere forays into exploring this way of eating and both their professional wealth of knowledge about cellular metabolic process made the way we talked about this truly fascinating. What good doctors, with such truly healing visions for what medicine and care should and can become. We became friends in that conversation, all because I paid attention to the dog making a point of pointing them out, and I knew to do more than just say hi as we passed. I will be forever grateful. It was truly an amazing encounter and memorable bond we all formed. I’m still absorbing it.

These are not easy times. I look for encouragement and stamina to stay the course wherever I can find it. I’ve doubled back on my fundamental whole foods approach to help with all the extra stress. To be graced by these stellar conversations with such lovely people as we crossed paths felt like what my friend Louise calls “winks” from the universe–those signs that give us hope and show us the beautiful tapestry of connection and meaning and love, and strength to shine our lights when it seems most dark.

Thanks, Universe, for the “winks”–it’s surprising and funny, even shocking sometimes,  to know there are people listening, people watching, people caring, and people, like you, dear readers, reading–reminding me we are all in this together.  Another neighbor of mine, totally “got” me when I said I didn’t feel like going to the 4th of July picnic this year.  Another one said, when I told her I was signing up to volunteer for Postcards to Voters (even though I might not be able to write a ton of them)–to give her the information, that she’d like to do that too.

Which just goes to show me, we are never alone–even when we think we are. I am reminded of a saying on a sign photographed during the family reunification marches. I am told by a friend it’s from Talmud: “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now.  Love mercy now. Walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” Such wisdom from the perspective of that big picture feels profoundly comforting–and true. (Wink, wink.)


Maria (moonwatcher)




Leave a Comment

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Marge Evans July 2, 2018 at 7:58 am



2 Maria Theresa Maggi July 2, 2018 at 8:57 am

Thanks Marge! xo


3 Veronique Blommaart July 2, 2018 at 8:19 am

As always, your writing is wonderful. It takes me away to your world and with your drawings accompanying it, there is a distinct poetic quality to it.
I am happy for you that your are seen and heard but am I to understand your health troubles you? I do hope you will be able to tweak your diet to keep you strong, healthy and with as little pain as possible.
Keeping you in my prayers.


4 Maria Theresa Maggi July 2, 2018 at 8:59 am

Thanks Veronica–I am doing well. I HAVE tweaked my diet back to very basics (and hope to write about that when I can find the words for it)–so all is going well, which I am so grateful for in these times of intense collective stress. Thank you always for your loving connection, hugs, and prayers. Back at ya–M


5 Peggy bean July 2, 2018 at 8:29 am

What a wonderful encounter with the docs on the beach! I love hearing stories about woke docs! Thanks Maria!


6 Maria Theresa Maggi July 2, 2018 at 8:59 am

Thanks Peggy! It was, indeed, wonderful. Still processing it all. I’m with you!! xoxo


7 LeAnn July 2, 2018 at 9:00 am

Life IS good Maria and thanks for the beautifully written reminder. It gave me smiles and giggles.


8 Maria Theresa Maggi July 2, 2018 at 11:18 am

Thank you, LeAnn! xoxo


9 Veronica G. July 6, 2018 at 10:32 am

This was a beautiful post, Maria – thank you. I sometimes need this reminder… 😉 It’s so nice and refreshing to hear doctors actually believing the impact of food on health! Too many I’ve encountered just shrug it off, or say no one would change their eating habits for their health, so they don’t ever recommend it… We just have to stay positive, because you’re right – we’re in this together. xoxo


10 Maria Theresa Maggi July 6, 2018 at 12:11 pm

Thank you, Veronica–I’ve had my share of listening to doctors shrug it off or say no one will change their eating habits, too, so yeah, this was a true breath of fresh sea air!! And they are younger than me–so there’s hope!! 🙂 And yes, we do have to stay positive, it’s our best shot as we go through this TOGETHER. xoxo


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