Do you agree that the week just ended was quite unusual? It seems that some celestial power hit the Fast Forward button and just when the weather reporters were gearing up to give us suggestions on where “leaf peeking” was or would seen be at its autumnal best, winter set in.
One of the outcomes if you happen, as I do, to live in a building where the temporary failure of the one elevator that goes to the sub-basement, is that you are left with a sartorial challenge. Since it is in that sub-basement where storage rooms live (and in them your winter outerwear) your challenge last week was to find ingenious ways to layer sweaters, jackets, and coats to meet the challenge of the thermostat with a fashion statement that owed more to chic and less to rather discernable eccentricity.
Sympathetic souls met on the sidewalks of our urban village responded with a knowing laugh when I greeted them with the question, “Who stole Autumn?”
Happily though, the idiosyncratic weather seemed also to generate other more palatable surprises. Take the “Oatmeal leads to Eucalyptus” surprise I got early in the week. Not long ago a neighbor responded to the timing of my leaving a remnant of my favorite Red Mill Oatmeal on her family’s doorknob. Sometimes good timing can’t be planned. And except for the fact that I don’t believe in coincidences it creates the sort of two-fold surprises that add up to entirely welcome moments of kindness and generosity.
My neighbor demonstrated that one who casts a meager loaf on the waters is sometimes rewarded, not simply by having the “bread” return to her, but is disproportionately rewarded by having it come back as the most delicious sort of “cake.” In the case of the oatmeal remnant think not just “cake: but the world’s best Rotisserie Chicken. And don’t stop there, go on to the plastic cylinder in which it was delivered, making its return trip as the creatively reinvented “vase” for glorious stems of Eucalyptus. There it was, waiting at the door to help one from whom Autumn was “stolen” write off the absence of Fall foliage with a bounty of beauty that made me wish I had a pet Koala with whom to share the bounty.
Note, too, that the Eucalyptus was especially endearing because I had just stepped off a bus where a remarkably kind gentleman chose to act as if his fellow passenger’s quite eccentric request was absolutely normal. I had wedged my way into one of the single seats on the M103 bus that arrives (if/when it does) as the reward for a life well spent. So, I did not argue with sitting facing sideways versus forward. The only problem was that I was challenged to keep my “Rolls Royce” of a walker with its left handbrake out of view and out of reach. One learns to be forgiving of an awkward vehicle still much less awkward than street and sidewalk conditions that make Syria’s combat zones look like a stroll in the estate at Downton Abbey.
So, understand that in that overcrowded bus I had not a chance to reach back to engage the brake on the rogue roller that kept veering into the double lines of standees who demonstrated that their patience was about to be tested beyond its limits. And how did I respond? Facing the fellow passenger occupying the crowded center aisle, I addressed the person seated behind me and said, “Unfortunately, I cannot see you, but if you are a kind and strong person may I ask if you would be kind enough to engage the handbrake that is at your side, but entirely beyond my reach.” My happy surprise was that my request was answered by him whom I will now always remember as “the Eucalyptus Man of the 103.”
As I prepared to plow my way toward the door three stops later, I looked back and saw my rescuer sitting clutching a great armload of Eucalyptus and flashing a benign smile that told me he was the sort of person who deals easily with surprising and noticeably eccentric requests. I’ll never know if he had a pet Koala at home or was just kind to all beings, even strangers on MTA buses. But the gift I found at my door that evening was a happy reminder that the loss of our stolen Autumn was quite overshadowed by the delight of neighbors, known and never before met, who bring us unexpected surprises (don’t call them “coincidences,” mind you!) These serve to remind a dweller in our urban village that the unexpected is often quite as lovely as any stretch of trees festooned in Fall’s reds and golds and umbers.
So, join me in adopting a motto for this surprising week. How about, “Loss is no match for happy though unexpected finds”?
Photo | Pixabay