Do you remember that childhood glee at finding a shiny penny in the dirt, or the teenage thrill of seeing that dreamy boy you spotted in the hall seated next to you in home room? Of course you picked up the penny, but did you strike up a conversation with the boy? Seizing serendipity can change the course of your life, or it can simply bring a moment of happiness when you acknowledge that the universe is smiling at you.
My daughter-in-law, Ann Peterson, is keenly aware of when the universe is smiling at her, and if the blessing is a visual one, she really embraces it. Because, you see, seizing serendipity is not just recognizing a moment. – It’s appreciating it, putting yourself into it, and preserving it if you can.
During my first trip to Ireland with Ann, I was delighted whenever we came upon a place that I recognized from one of her cards. One of my favorites is a photo of Bunratty Castle that became a greeting for a new home. IW-107 Bunratty Castle The photo on the card shows the castle and a boat reflected in a shallow body of water. It looked so different (less impressive) to me in person, so I asked Ann why.
“Well,” she said. “I got it from over there.” And she led me across the road to a muddy bank where she proceeded to try to recreate the shot for me. I followed her until I determined that life and limb were at risk. So, I stood back and watched her balance in the muck, one foot higher than the other, camera poised.
“I was happy there was a boat to add interest.” (That was the serendipity). “And I waited until the boat drifted and the light was right to get the reflection..“ She didn’t explain the whimsical branches in the foreground, but I’m sure they also resulted from the collaboration of Ann and the universe.
I sacrificed for serendipity the next day. It was my day to drive, and Ann spotted an interesting cottage.
“Turn around – I have to get that!” WHAT??? I am on a one lane, shoulderless road, this wheel’s on the wrong side of the car, I swear I have spatial dyslexia – and you want me to hang a u-ey? But, with much trepidation, I did it for the sake of Ann’s art.
There were many such serendipitous moments on that trip. Some, like the adorable dog peeking through the Christmas window, have been memorialized on greeting cards IW-237 Dog in WIndow; others, like the man carrying the giant statue of Jesus, or the grizzly Santa with the cigarette hanging from his mouth just provided wonder or humor in real time.
I’ve seen Ann climb and perch, lose sleep, risk ridicule or patiently wait for a photo. It has always proved worth it. Whatever it takes, and whatever your passion, my advice is to always seize the serendipity. I still look for shiny pennies on my way into the casino. And….oh yes… I married the dreamy boy.