In the beginning of the pandemic my Mom was starting to loose her mind with the endless lockdown we had here in California. She started to make a list of things she can do that do not involve anything being open. One of those things was a series of public art exhibits in the Napa Valley area. recently we made the drive.
For starters, the articles online were not that good. We got lost looking for the 2nd piece of art and by lost, I mean really lost. But in a time when people act like everyone has the plague we met some very nice people starting with the park ranger at the entrance to the park…That we drove past twice lost and asking for directions. He let us go into an area we were not suppose to go into as long as we promised not to go farther the 3rd time we stopped to talk to him. (We were SOOOO close). As it turned out we were not very far from where he parks his car and he never noticed the artwork. After a bit he ventured up to us and we talked to him for about 30 min. Lots of laughter. It was refreshing to talk to another human and not only that but a kind one.
After leaving the ranger we moved on, only getting slightly lost this time and met another group of ladies checking out the art trail. They had a MUCH better map than us and pointed us to the visitor center where they got the map. We all took group photos of eachother and talked about where we were from and our plan for the day. After the photos we went to the visitor center that they pointed out to us to get a better map.
What we thought would be a quick in and out turned into a much longer visit. The woman working inside was a wonderful, friendly and knowledgeable lady. She was a wealth of knowledge and we left there with more information than we ever thought possible.
Our stops along the way took us longer than expected but we met some great people along the way. We took a quick break for lunch then went on down the road to the next place on our trail only to meet another nice person who volunteers keeping up the field for people to enjoy the artwork. As with the lady in the visitor center we spoke to this man for at least 30 minutes and found out about a few other hidden gems in the area that we didn’t know about.
All together we only made it halfway though our planned route but we found several nice people along the way to talk to. It was so nice to see faces and smiles out in the open air with only about half the people out still wearing masks. You don’t realize just how much you miss seeing the kind smile of a stranger until it is taken away for a few years. Even three years later roughly half of Californians are still wearing masks outside their homes or at least that seems to be the case where I live. The more rural you go, the less masking you see.
Even though my Mom took a couple spills, we had a great time and will plan another day to finish the second half of the art trail soon. Our day was made much brighter by the smiles and friendly conversations with the strangers we met along the way. This shows not only are there still kind people in the world but that kindness is contagious. I challenge all of you to take a minute and smile at a stranger. Say “Hello”, take the time to give someone directions or hold open a door. Try a random act of kindness. Make a difference one act of kindness at a time.