Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mysterious Gifts

A couple of weeks ago, I received a mysterious gift! I had just finished talking to students after teaching a group yoga class, and I looked over to where my bag was and saw that a shopping bag from Anthropologie was sitting on top of it. I was astonished. There was a box inside, wrapped in a ribbon, with the gift tag shown above signed, “Your Student.” It wasn’t Christmas or my birthday, and I had received an anonymous gift!

I was reading The Education of Little Tree by Forrest Carter at the time. There is a part of the book that explains that the best way to give a gift, according to Cherokee tradition, is to just leave it for the person you are giving it to. So receiving the gift like this at this time had a tang of relevance it wouldn’t have had otherwise. So my mind reeled as I accepted the gift as mine.

Inside the package was an elegant spring sweater-top. A nice gift!

My mind enjoyed this thrill for some time. Then I let it go.

The following week in the hallway of my apartment building there was an empty basket outside of my downstairs neighbor’s door. It seemed like a metaphor. …Or a tradition I heard about once. So I went upstairs, into my place to choose a gift for the basket. I chose a beautiful hardcover book about birds with a bright pink cover. It was fun to run down the stairs to place my mysterious gift into the empty basket! At the time I didn’t connect this act of giving with the mysterious gift I had received the previous week. It was a spontaneous act.

Earlier this week, at the end of a class I taught, a student asked me if I had received the gift she had left for me a couple weeks ago. I was dumbfounded. Here was the giver of the gift! She was wondering if I had received it. I told her that I had, and that I liked it. “Thank you,” I said. And I found myself speechless to describe how wonderful it was to receive that gift.

Afterwards, as I was walking in the cool, high-energy, early-spring air outside, I felt high with the wonder of a mystery solved.

Thank you (I thought) for the mysterious gifts of nature. Thank you for my life, and the flowers, trees, and animals—all mysterious gifts!


Anonymous said...

How wonderful, Brooks. That's very special. I love giving gifts like that too.

I remember the first Kris Kringle I participated in. The idea was to give lots of tiny little presents with messages for your KK recipient, trying to conceal who you were as the giver.

Then, the 'main' present came last, and everyone had to try and guess. It was so much fun!

The joy is very much in the exchange, is it not?

Eco Yogini said...

I love this post. Giving surprise gifts is so much fun, and i used to love doing it. Recently though, I have felt disconnected from people who surround my life.
Your post has inspired me to make fun little gifts for neighbours and friends! (I just baked homemade granola for the first time, I think I will wrap them up and give them out!).

Thank you :)