Life has a way of surprising us. The other day I was driving on my beloved nature trail. The sun was coming up through the trees and I snapped a photograph. Today the sun is shining. It’s a lovely afternoon, low sixties, soft breeze. I had some running to do and after I finished my work, I took a little side trip to my nature trail again. Driving on East River Road, I happened to look up. Right ahead of me, flying low, a bald eagle. My God. It flew right over me, not twenty feet above me. Unbelievable. First, the bird and then, its shadow. Another gift to savor.
Then, as the trail drifted west, I turned left on a whim so I could pass the daffodil house. It’s an older home, not one of the mansions rising along the shoreline. This house is on wooded plot of land, older. Paint peeling, showing its age. The lawn is littered with leaves and wild things growing on the edge of the woods. And this time of year, daffodils. Great masses of yellow and white, everywhere.
I saw her–an older woman, grey hair cut short, walking slowly toward her house with an armful of daffodils. I slowed the van and called to her, “I love your flowers!”
“Wait,” she said. And so I did. We had the most delightful conversation, she and I. Her name was Estelle. She insisted on giving me a bunch of flowers and as she gathered them up for me, I saw she held a coffee cup, quite unweildy so I offered to hold the cup for her. It had a flower on the side and the word ‘Teacher’.
She was, once. She taught little kids, as did I. She loved story time the best, reading to her little first graders. I told her I taught, too, once. And I loved reading to the children, too.
She was so sweet, inviting me to come back any time for more. “They’re so pretty,” she said. “I’m so glad to share them with someone who appreciates how pretty they are.” I set my flowers in my travel mug of lemon Kool-Aid, and told Estelle thank you, and started home but when I reached my nature trail again I paused to snap a photograph.
Today as I was driving I was thinking of my novels. I’ve been querying both CHERRY and EFFIN’ ALBERT and, sometimes, it’s tough not to get discouraged. You send your queries, cross your fingers. Check your email daily, sometimes hourly and every so often, you see a response from an agent.
Last night, two responses. I opened the first with trepidation. A form rejection for CHERRY and I admit, I was disheartened. I opened the second, steeling myself for another rejection. But it wasn’t. It was a request for a full. Based on a query, a wing and a prayer.
Look up. Turn left. Take a chance, writers. You may just find yourself in the midst of something magical. You may just. . .