Friday, July 16, 2010
Yesterday I received three "magical" gifts (in the sense that they were unexpected, delightful, and just in the nick of time).
First, a casual question on FaceBook about inexpensive retreats got a response from a high-school friend who owns a condo in Seven Springs, an hour or two northeast of Morgantown, who offered it to me for a few days in August at a bargain price.
Next, I went up to the office and discovered a big Fed Ex box with my name on it in the mailroom. When I opened it up, I discovered abut a dozen recent children's and young-adult books sent to me by Random House for participating in their Teacher Advisory Board.
Among them is one I've been planning to buy after reading good things about it in the YA-lit blogosphere, The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin. I'm looking forward to starting on that one as soon as I finish Sisters Red, a contemporary YA retelling of Red Riding Hood, which I'm loathing. But that's another blog.
In the evening, I went blackberry picking with a couple of friends at a berry farm off the Grafton Road, where the berries were the size of your thumb.
That was a gift in itself, but afterwards we went to Jo Ann's house in the hills of Preston County for dinner, which led to a tour of her amazing vegetable garden. On the spot she pulled up a bunch of red onions, picked some squash and some cucumbers, and handed them over to me.
It's that early point in the harvest when I actually crave fresh squash, but the ones in the grocery look anemic and the farmer's market is several days away.* So tonight, we're having grilled vegetables from Jo Ann's bounty.
A side gift (which I'll go ahead and mention, even if it messes up the "magical threes" idea) was a random comment from the clerk at a gas station we stopped at en route to the berry patch. As I was checking out, he said, "You have a wonderful smile. I can tell you're a positive person...there's not enough of that these days."
He was utterly sincere (and, I'm quite sure, not hitting on me), and it really touched me, especially since I've been feeling anything but positive this week, as my end-of-summer anxiety has started ramping up, and I've been feeling cow-like and frazzled in the heat and humidity. I'm glad I can still send off that optimistic vibe, even if I'm not feeling it myself.
But it was that moment that caused me to reframe the entire day--to look past the awkward, difficult afternoon of writing and the bad hair day I was having and to see that in fact, it had been a very, very lucky day indeed.
*Note to gardeners: do not start leaving anonymous piles of your zucchini bounty on my doorstep. And no, saying they're from the zucchini fairy does not make it OK.