Trying to get back to the keyboard. Sometimes inspiration doesn’t come, or it sometimes does, and I am simply too tired to act on it. Or it comes at the wrong time, like when I am driving in the car, and then later I sit down to write and I have forgotten those flashes of brilliance that only hours earlier coalesced in my brain.
Synchronicity is everything. For instance, yesterday, at a rest stop in New Hampshire, my husband, who was traveling on a bus back to Vermont from Providence, Rhode Island with his rugby team, struck up a conversation with a man at the rest stop who had just driven in his pick-up truck from Plum Island, Massachusetts on his way to Lancaster, Vermont. The man had just sold his vacation home on Plum Island and was thinking of purchasing one in Midcoast Maine, which happens to be where my husband and I own a vacation home, so they talked about that; and two summers ago my husband did a five-day solo bicycle trip from Central Vermont to the Coast of Maine. On the first day of the trek, just outside of Lancaster, he got a flat tire, (his second flat of the day), and had been picked up by a guy in a pickup truck. At some point in the conversation (I think as as they were leaving the men’s room), the two strangers figured out that they had met before: he was the man who had pulled over to the side of the road and offered my husband a ride in his truck. Laughing at this miraculous second meeting, my husband told the man the story of how he got the rest of the way to the coast of Maine safely and without mishap.
One summer almost twenty years ago I was eating breakfast in a small restaurant in a small town in Maine that made wonderful muffins. I remarked to our waitress how hard it must be to work in a place with such delicious baked goods. She lamented that she could not eat any of them because she had a reaction to wheat that caused her agonizing hip pain. Coincidentally, I had been experiencing agonizing hip pain for more than a year, so I decided to see if not eating wheat would make a difference. Miraculously, within 48 hours my hip pain was gone. A few days later I decided to test it by eating a plate of pasta for supper. Wham! The hip pain returned with a vengeance. As a bonus, that fall, to my delight, my ragweed allergy that had plagued me for years did not resurface. I also discovered I was no longer allergic to cats! Chronic gas, bloating, and abdominal pain had also subsided–all because I had cut wheat out of my diet.
What if I hadn’t eaten there that day? Or what if I had, but had been served by a different waitress? Or what if I did have that waitress but hadn’t remarked about the baked goods?That chance encounter changed my life. It quite possibly would have taken me another twenty years to figure out what had been causing my hip problems.
Flash forward to yesterday. I was in a small shop in a small town in Vermont. The young woman in line in front of me was sniffling and asked for a tissue from the cashier, remarking at how she suffered from ragweed allergies this time of year. In sympathetic tones I told I used to be allergic to ragweed. She replied, “Used to?” So I told her the story about the waitress and the wheat and the hip pain. She responded, “I have terrible hip pain!” We chatted a little more, and as she was leaving she said she would try giving up wheat and see if it made a difference.
I hope she does, and I hope it works. I will probably never see her again to find out. But then again, you never know…