It all started with a wrong turn.
Earlier, I had decided to walk instead of drive around Berkeley to take care of errands, allowing me to squeeze in a workout. During my fast paced walk, arms swinging by my sides, my mind was running through its favorite designer list of downer interpretations guaranteed to cause overwhelm:
It’s too late.
There is not enough time.
I won’t be able to.
It’s going to take a long time.
It’s too much.
It’s all on me.
I was sane enough to recognize these weren’t the facts. Yet I was struggling to direct my attention elsewhere.
That’s when I noticed I had been staring at the sidewalk, and looked up.
That’s when I noticed I had taken a wrong turn. I had been walking away from my destination instead of towards it.
And that’s when I saw the first rose:
The white print read: You’ve been Fleck’d.
How sweet, I thought. I imagined this was the work of somebody’s sweetheart, offering an impromptu surprise.
Until I noticed the mailbox on a house down the block:
In blue handwriting, the card reads: “I hope you have an awesome day. Fleck.”
Who on Earth is Fleck?
Now I was curious. Did any other houses have roses on them?
At this point, I saw a tiny Pekingese approach, connected by a leash to a tall woman with wild hair and a smartphone.
“Did you notice the roses?” I asked, pointing.
“No!” she said. “There are more? On this block?”
“Yes,” I said. “I have been following the trail for a few minutes.”
She flashed a big smile, and exclaimed: “I love my neighborhood!”
“Did you know that other houses on this block also have roses like this at their doorways or mailboxes?”
She replied: “No. I was trying to figure out if I knew who this is. Wow, really?”
I asked her to show me her rose so I could read the note and take a picture:
“I just wanted to make your day a little brighter,” the note read.
I found my hand at my heart. Fleck got me.
I felt seen. I felt loved.
Often enough, I have experienced the city of Berkeley as a magical being with a distinct personality that interacts with mine, that lets me know from time to time that I am seen and cared for.
What would it be if all people connected to a living context that affirmed the experience of being seen, loved and cared for? What would be possible under those circumstances?
What if everyone had something to contribute to that dream? What would you contribute, if nothing held you back?
When I focused back on my errands within the context of being seen, of being loved, I naturally expected things to work out. I expected the people I would seek for assistance to want to help. I found myself sharing laughs and eye contact with everyone I spoke to, and coming home with what I needed the most: Gratitude.
So Fleck, whoever you are, wherever you are,