I found a Ben’s Bell today. I’ve always known that if I found one of these in the city I would admire it, ring the bell, and leave it for the next person to claim.
However, this bell was in the desert that I love, at the head of a trail I’ve walked over four-hundred times. It’s a trail that has granted me passage in blazing heat, snow, sleet, hail, graupel, torrential downpours and gentle drizzles, frigid cold, crazy wind, gentle breezes, fog(!) and so many days of perfect weather. This trail parallels an arroyo who’s sand has been under my feet on the most joyous day of my life, the saddest day, days of brilliance and my darkest times. I’ve followed every canyon and drainage that crosses it, run my hands over its beds of fossilized ripple marks, admired the ancient glyphs chipped into its patinad stone, and been blown away to see glow-worms on its rocky slopes. I’ve seen it in bright sunlight, radiant moonlight, dim starlight, and many shades of “sunset.” I've run up it at full-speed on the strongest legs and limped down it with agony in each step. On it, I’ve watched a tiny sliver of moon rise just before dawn, chased sunsets, enjoyed meteor showers and seen eclipses of the sun and moon. I know it intimately and that allows me to appreciate and see new things nearly every time I’m on it.
I lifted the bell gently. It gave a pleasant ring. As the sound of the bell faded, these words went through my head, as though someone spoke them to me: “this is here, on this trail, for a reason; for you to find.” I didn’t expect that.
I deeply respect the Ben's Bells Project and what they have done. The random but intentional acts of kindness that are spread through your work are remarkable and fill a deep need in my hometown of Tucson. I also had the pleasure to work with Ben’s father, a good man and brilliant teacher. Thank you, Ben’s Bells, and whoever put this bell out there!