“I always have relied on the kindness of strangers.”

– Blanche Du Bois, A Streetcar Named Desire

Seven days into to our stay at Goose Lake has been like Eden after Adam and Eve ate the apple, still Paradise; but shadows of background irritation pass occasionally across the landscape of bliss in the form of pesky voracious mosquitoes sneaking into peak twilight firepit pondering and reverie. Twenty five percent Deet holds their peckishness at bay, as they perceive a warm blooded creature as a mirage fading into and out of perception. Drinking and driving for them is a recklessness driven by need. “Should I, or not, test this mirage’s reality?” Only one hundred percent Deet or close transforms the wearer into the “invisible man” at the cost of melting anything related to plastic, health be damned! Oh and the smell…but let me get to the point of my topic.

In this particular campground every hookup site except for two are standard 20 amp, home style receptacles. Two 30 amp boxes are reserved for the campground host, and one lucky spot which was occupied by tenters who were gone all day. We coveted that site so we could utilize the comfort of our air conditioning, and Ruth could work all day deeper into the Eden I mentioned earlier. Ruth did mention to me that Ed Abbey would roll over in his grave if he saw our dependence on such comforts. My reply was, “Yeah, Old Ed would rail and write about this degeneracy, but would probably practice the opposite as was his wont.”

We were told by the park ranger that our usurpers would be leaving in several days but one day early, Ranger Tina knocked at our door to inform us that the site was apparently clear and she would cone it off to prevent others from squatting. I’m thinking to myself, “Now this is thoughtful!” Later we spied Tina mowing the vast grass and vegetated fields around the campground. She waved. Mental note, “She’s friendly as well.” Doggone it! People don’t have to act like this…have I lived too long in the iron grip of urban living, or been strangled in the guarded gentility of Marin County, California?

The next morning there was another knock at our door, and upon opening it, Ruth was greeted by Ranger Tina again who handed her a dozen fresh eggs stating that her hens were extremely prolific, and she wanted to share the bounty.

Tina's farm fresh eggs 2

Now, we can add gracious, giving, and a poster child for human kindness to strangers to this mental list, pretty darn close to the best brand of kindness on the planet, no expectations of reciprocity.

I had to speak with this beneficent soul, and Gyp and I perambulated on a pilgrimage toward the ranger station to be met by Tina just leaving for the day. The magic of travel transforms us through human intercourse, through which we share our stories, advice, wisdom, and just plain living, which bind us all together into a precious tribe. Our conversation flowed easy. Strangely, we shared many commonalities, like families that lived in close proximity and some similar experiences. So many times I ask myself, “How many degrees of separation are we all from each other?” The joys of travel accentuate and magnify this wonder.

The last thing that Tina said upon leaving us was, “Are you guys egg eaters? I can bring some more for the road.” My response was a glowing heart and an electric smile.

Tina and Gyp