The call came into Fred Langston the Postmaster. The mail postal jeep had broken down again on Fox Hill Road. Fred, a large gruff man, blurted out, “get a tow rig out there.” He did not tolerate problems well. This being the second breakdown of a rig troubled him. The source of the problem was familiar to him, excess weight generated by shipments from a small country home at 1920 Fox Hill Road. The many packages weighed too much for the rigs. Fred yelled for Carl, his assistant, “Check and see if there are any regulations on weight limits for residential shipments and report back to me.” Carl went off to do the research without any comment.
The problem developed over a couple of years. First with a small number of shipments, growing into a virtual snow storm of packages coming and going. The source was one person, Brenda Heart.
Brenda loved to walk in the woods, her long hair and light step carried along by the spirits of the forest she found. A green canvas of tall trees and forest creatures stretched in every direction. She walked each day along her favorite trail that took her deep into its secrets.
The trees were tall and stood brave, she touched them feeling their strength. They never spoke, but she knew their stories. Birds would sing from the branches, asking only that you paused long enough to hear their whole song. Mostly, Brenda would see small animals, squirrels and rabbits, but she knew deer and other larger ones watched her. Sometimes, she would spot the moving of bushes and a doe with young one moving about. Brenda often stopped at places looking up through the trees to the blue sky. She would raise her arms high embracing the love the forest had to give. The seasons changed, but life and love were always there, free for the enjoyment. It filled her with feelings of goodness and wonderment.
Her walks would always end along the bank of a stream that cut through the forest. It brought leaves and stones from hidden places deep within and far up in the hills. One day she noticed three stones on the small sandy bank shaped like hearts. She thought, these must be special messages sent by the forest. Gathering them, she wondered how she might share these special gifts.
She sent the stones to three friends. One had just lost a love, another two healing from illness. The friends loved the stones, sending her notes about how they brought cheer and hope.
Her forest walks began yielding even more heart stones, which she packaged and sent to relatives and others needing a lift. The notes continued, telling wonderful stories about the stones and how they meant special things when found again and again in draws and corners of desks.
Soon, people began sending Brenda heart shaped stones they found with hopes that she would pass them on. Stones kept piling up. She did her best to find places to send them finally deciding to look for people in the news needing extra help. Why not broaden the arms of love, she thought. So, she would not only send the stones to people in need, but also to a bank of addresses on each side of the person.
Each day though, she would still walk into the forest and to the bank along the river. More and more heart stones would show up. She never knew how this happened. The forest creatures though had caught word of her efforts from the wind. They thought the bounty of the forest love might now be even more appreciated. So at night, the creatures of the forest pitched in to help. The deer brought heart shaped stones to the stream, dropping them before they drank. Salmon swimming by flicked them onto the banks and even the turtle, nobody ever saw, pushed the special heart stones up on the bank for Brenda to find. The birds of course, thinking their song enough of a gift were slow to join the movement. After the nesting season though, they began dropping stones on the bank for Brenda.
Brenda’s effort to spread the love of the forest started paying unusual rewards. When she sent out a mass mailing to a neighborhood, she learned from notes sent to her that for the first time in years, neighbors started talking to each other. Asking where the heart stones came from and what they meant. People were indeed spreading the love.
Brenda took great pride in this. Light rain was falling as Brenda looked outside. She put on her backpack and headed out to the forest trail. There was much love to find and spread even on this gray day.
Back at the Post Office, the day started as usual with Fred storming around. One of the clerks said, “you have a package.” Fred, surprised, took it from the clerk. No one ever sent him a package. He looked at it. The sender was Brenda Heart.
He took it back to his desk and opened it. A large heart shaped stone wrapped in tissue with a note lay before him. The note read, “Thank You.” In 23 years at the Post Office, no one had ever thanked him. It was always just the usual stream of complaints. Fred managed a small smile as he looked at the special stone.
Just then Carl walked in, “I have the report on weight limit regulations for residences you requested.” He layed it on Fred’s desk. Like most government reports, it was several inches thick.
Fred looked at it and then back at the heart stone from Brenda. “Hey Carl, just a minute. I want you to reassign our heavier mail delivery equipment to the Fox Hill Road route.”
Carl looked surprised but nodded his head. Fred turned again to Brenda’s stone. He leaned it against the small lamp he had on his desk next to a picture of his family. Then he turned grabbing the weight limit report and shoved it into the third drawer of his desk.
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