There's been a dark cloud over Central Texas recently, and I'm not talking about the weather.

Election seasons tend to bring out the ugly side in many people, regardless of their party affiliation or politics. If you spend a great deal of time on social media (I do as part of my professional duties), then you see that negativity amplified tenfold. Throw an ongoing pandemic on top of that and you've got a depression powder keg waiting to blow.

I wasn't in the best mood Sunday. I'd worked through what was supposed to be a Friday off, and my Saturday wasn't the restful day I had planned. (That was mostly my fault. I let dishes and laundry pile up.) Sunday morning, I decided my dog Leela and I had been cooped up too long, so I loaded her into the car and we headed to Pepper Creek Trail in Temple for a long walk in the sunshine.

Leela the Derpy Dog - Photo by Aaron Savage, Townsquare Media
Leela the Derpy Dog - Photo by Aaron Savage, Townsquare Media

It was a beautiful morning for a drive and a walk. Leela had a great time sticking her head out of the window as usual, and she was ecstatic about going to Pepper Creek. She can always tell when we're going there or to Millar Park. She gets that doggie sense.

Anyway, we got to the trail and the first thing was saw was a little sidewalk graffiti.

Aaron Savage, Townsquare Media
Aaron Savage, Townsquare Media

In case you can't make out the chalk writing against the pale concrete, it reads: "HUGS - You are BEAUTIFUL - Jesus Loves YOU!"

Now, I'm not the most upbeat guy in the world, but I do appreciate it when someone takes the time to say something like "God bless you" or "Merry Christmas". Regardless of your spiritual leanings, it's just a sign that someone wishes you a good day. They're trying to share some positivity with you in a way that feels natural to them.

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When I saw the writing on the pavement, my spirits really were lifted. It was a beautiful, chilly morning (I love cold weather), the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the wind was whispering in the grass. Someone had taken the time to write a little message in chalk to try and cheer up whoever might set out on the trail after they left. They'd obviously been in a good mood and wanted to share that with the next person to come along. Bonus points that they did it in a non-destructive way.

I guess by sharing this story, I'm hoping to pass a little of that magic along to you in hopes that you'll pass it along as well. Anyone who knows me can tell you I have more in common with a character like Eeyore than Winnie the Pooh, so if a nice greeting chalked on the sidewalk at a beautiful nature trail can make me feel a little better, I have to imagine it can do the same for whoever this article reaches.

Whoever you are, whatever you're doing, and whatever you may be going through right now, I wish you all the best and hope you find something beautiful in your day, even if it's something little like the first sip of a great cup of coffee or a smile from a stranger.

By the way, if you're the one who wrote on the sidewalk and you happen to be reading this, thank you.

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