I completed a week-long meditation retreat recently and the space allowed me to recall, while eating blueberries, a precious story in my family lore. It is one of the incidents of coincidence that my mother had often reminded me of—an example of everyday magic made more magical by my mother’s retelling.
When I was a child, my family included a gray and brown tabby named Noel who packed a lot of adventure into four short years. One summer, Noel went missing from home while being cat-sat. This was not the first time she had disappeared. Those were days when people left their cars parked with the windows down and Noel would occasionally find a cozy spot for a nap in a convenient car.
Noel was missing at least a week when a friend and I were walking home after picking wild blueberries and decided to take some berries to a favoUrite teacher. As we took a detour to the teacher’s house, I was conscious of a gray tail disappearing under a car … and then Noel emerged and walked toward me.
I was amazed and ecstatic. My friend carried all the blueberries home while I carried the cat. My mother seemed amazed and ecstatic too. I had walked down a street, not one of my regular routes and definitely beyond Noel’s usual territory, at just the right time.
Connect. My love for that cat is the reason there’s a chip in my front tooth. That cat was buried in 1976 on my grandmother’s property–where I am moving next year with my tiny house. Thinking of this, I include a memory garden in the sketch of landscape plans I had just started–a little flora sanctuary to sit and honoUr family, including beloved critters.
These days, I am not surprised to notice coincidence, connections, and karma anywhere—and magic is always available when I look to nature. My living room has large east-facing windows. If I’m sitting there after dinner, occasionally I pull my eyes away from a computer screen or book at just the right moment to see a row of evergreens lit up bright yellow by golden hour sunlight funneled through the space between two buildings. It feels like a second of thought-less awestruck-ness—before I tell myself to stop what I’m doing, sit back, and just look. Every time.
I miss Mom retelling the same family tales. Dad has wonderful stories too, but not the same inventory. Creating space away from electronic devices and my to-doing enables me to remember more stuff like childhood magic, a mother’s stories, and a small fearless cat. Not about living in the past, remembering and writing again offers me a way to gain insight and make relevant connections now. And turning away from the beauty of a sunset lets me see what magic its light is doing behind me.
Notes and related links:
- Thanks to Dad and my brother for helping me fill in a few blanks on a couple stories of coincidence that Mom like to retell.
- Noel received her name because she was a stray kitten we took in on a snowy December 25, 1972 in Ottawa, Ontario.
- Golden Hour: “In photography, the golden hour (sometimes known as magic hour, especially in cinematography) is a period shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which daylight is redder and softer than when the Sun is higher in the sky” (SOURCE: Wikipedia).
- Previous post (with auspicious coincidence): the slow path
- During the meditation retreat, we listened to an interview (SOURCE: onbeing.org) with the poet Naomi Shihab Nye. Her recommendation to write even just three lines every day so that over time “uncanny connections will be made visible to you” stood out for me. This is my experience with writing a journal—well, connections and karmic patterns (i.e. cause and effect, repeat, repeat).