“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) “Serendipity. Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you’ve found is more suited to your needs than what you were looking for.” Lawrence Block (1938-Present)
When I arrive home late after having a bad day, I instinctively get out of the car, stand perfectly still and gaze towards the starry heavens – it must look a bit odd to the neighbors, but it really helps me to put things into perspective. I know that that perfect moment is always there waiting for me, so long as the night sky is clear. I only have to look up, take in the vast universe and ask myself if the problems of the day were really that daunting in light of the big picture. Invariably, the answer is no and I always walk into the house with a serendipitous grin on my face.
Some call it synchronicity, happenstance, going with the flow, or just being in the right place at the right time – but one of the great joys of life is simply accepting what comes our way. Take one of my favourite photographs, for instance; I was driving to the grocery store one winter’s day when I casually glanced up at a majestic English walnut at the side of the road. Its graceful silhouette was covered in several inches of new fallen snow, but it was the golden rays of dusk contrasted against a clear blue sky that really caught my eye. So I immediately did a U-turn and raced home to get my camera, and when I got back they were all there waiting for me – the tree, the snow, the last rays of the sun, the blue sky – it was my moment, my perfect photograph. This sort of thing seems to happen to me all the time, like when one of hockey heroes, Paul Henderson, came to town and I finally got to meet him in person. I look just like a kid in that photograph, completely happy and without a care in the world.
At other times even a seemingly bad circumstance can be transformed into an enlightening moment. A few weeks ago I had a young boy in the nursery who was throwing stones at the fish in our tanks. When I asked him to stop, he just tossed the rocks down, glared at me and walked over to the nearby Pitcher Plants or Sarracenia. When I noticed his interest in them, I started telling him about how these plants actually eat flies and then I showed him the numerous carcasses stacked in the translucent tubes. As soon as I saw the glint in his eyes, that little ‘rock-throwing’ brat was transformed into a future botanist. He actually went and got his Dad, and so impressed him with the explanation as to how these carnivorous plants eat, that he went home with his own Sarracenia that day. So apparently there are perfect moments that we actually have a hand in, and others that we just stumble upon – in either case, we should always remember to be thankful for them.