A little over a week ago I ran into a young man at the Village Book Store. He was visiting with the owner when I came in and somehow the conversation veered towards coincidences that happen. He recommended the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, and pulled it from the shelf for me. Rather than disappoint him, I did buy it. From what I gathered from his conversation and the blurb on the flyleaf, we have the power to make things happen by thinking about it. The author has quoted and used the studies of others in her book.
Doug, the young man, mentioned Henry David Thoreau, someone I admire as well as Emerson and the other Transcendentalists. He told about going to the replica of Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond with his wife some years ago, and he felt it was not in the same spot that Thoreau had built his cabin, but a little further away. As he was discussing this with his wife, a green leaf fell from the oak tree near him and landed on his shoulder. He felt it was a sign and has kept that leaf.
From there we started to compare notes on strange coincidences. I should add here that I’ve been worrying about how to murder my victim during a Civil War Reenactment going on in my next book. I know my murderer and know how I want it to happen, but wasn’t sure how it would work. I found out Doug has been interested in Civil War stuff since he was a kid and started taking part in Civil War Reenactments when he was a teenager. We worked through the logistics of how it could happen and I took notes so I’d remember. He also answered some of my other questions, too.
When I was teaching third grade, every morning I’d put a bonus question on the board that would require the students to look a word up in a dictionary or encyclopedia. They didn’t have to do it, but would get a funny money if they had the correct answer. Ten funny monies earned a prize from the prize can. It could be something like “Would a spelunker like spaghetti? Why or why not?” One morning the bonus question was something like “Would physiognomy live in a jungle? Why or why not?” Since we were studying Native Americans at the time, I picked up a book of poetry by Carl Sandburg that morning to read “Buffalo Dusk”. As I was browsing through the book looking for it, I came across the poem, “Phizzog” which was Sandburg’s play on the word Physiognomy – “This face you got, This here phizzog you carry around, You never picked it out for yourself, at all, at all – did you?” This is only the first few lines of the poem, but you can see why my mouth dropped open when I came across it.
|Not the best picture but no time to fool around taking more.|
I’ve had three incidents this past month; all to do with music that caused me to wonder. One evening I was browsing through my extensive piles of CD’s looking for a certain one (I should put them in some order) when one with a red words on the edge caught my eye. I pulled it out and it was a CD of Yo-Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin. I hadn’t played or listened to it in years and set it aside to play it sometime soon. Two mornings later, I woke up to Kristen Tippet’s show On Being that’s on NPR Sunday mornings. That morning she was interviewing Bobby McFerrin. I listened to most of it and then brought it up later on my computer to get all of it. Another evening I was browsing through the CD’s and came across a CD of The Kingston Trio, I’d bought at their concert I’d attended about three or four years ago. As with most CD’s I buy at concerts, I’d listened to it quite a bit at first and then it got buried and I hadn’t listened to it in sometime. Those of you, who remember them, might remember their song; “M.T.A.” and poor Charley who is still riding that train in Boston. A few nights later, on the radio, I heard that song again. Strange coincidence that. The third one was one afternoon when I thought about Robin and Linda Williams, a folk singing couple I especially like and have seen at several concerts. They are often on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, but I realized I hadn’t heard them on there in some time. If I’m home, every Saturday night I listen to that program. That evening when it came on, guess who were among his guests that evening? You’re right. Robin and Linda Williams.
We’ve all had instances of thinking of someone; someone we hadn’t heard from or thought of in some time only to have them call. I’m going to have to find time to read “The Secret” and find out what the secret is.
What moments of serendipity or coincidences have you experienced?