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The Anonymous Gift


At first, I wanted to know who had sent me the gift. The hand-knit scarf, its lovely design chosen to resemble the spotted dove I had loved in Indonesia, but also with a dash of purple, because she or he knew my daily hue of choice.

Spotted Dove, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

But it also came with a card, and on the front was a fairy wren, one of the birds I most desperately want to see in the world.

Fairy Wren card

How did this person know? Had I mentioned it? Who was this masked knitter? This note writer, this fairy wren card giver?

I asked a couple friends who receive and enjoy my daily nature email (why the scarf and note were sent), but they knew nothing about it. Then, I suspected it might be someone from our Quaker meeting (Maryland postmark on envelope), so I wore it to meeting for worship. (Actually, I have worn it every day since I received it!)

But as I sat in the silence, with the scarf warming my neck, I knew I did not want to know. Oh, I had my suspicion, but I realized that in not knowing, it became a universal gift from all those who enjoy my daily photos. A gift filling me with immeasurable gratitude, warming my body and soul.

I don’t expect gifts. I don’t even expect a response each day, unless someone is moved to write one. I send the daily photos with their stories simply to bring a bit of the outside inside, to offer a gift of nature, of light.

It has made me think a lot about the giving of gifts. And the receiving. I certainly have given handmade gifts and received them—heart-to-heart gifts—giver and receiver able to hug or directly express thanks.

But I don’t think I purposely have created something to offer anonymously.

I think I will start.

Like the May baskets of old, which one hung on a doorknob then ran away, these surprise gifts offer joy both to giver and receiver, the anonymity adding to the thrill. Gifts from the universe simply appearing.


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