In another post I talked about Linda and I getting together. If the thunderstorm hadn't begun at the exact moment I was walking past Linda's cabin, if her door had been closed, if someone else had been there visiting with her....we wouldn't be living at the feet of the Catskill mountains with 4 cats, 2 dogs, 3 chickens and a bunch of fish. Or would we? Was it pre-ordained that one day we would come together to create the zoo that is our family?
If Pip had been bigger and stronger, if Linda hadn't gotten that particular litter to foster, if Pip wasn't fond of riding about on Linda's shoulder, she wouldn't have joined the menagerie, and that would have been a loss to all of us.
If back in July of 2010, my boss hadn't been showing me the website photo of the dog she was adopting from the shelter, I wouldn't have seen Yeti's photo. And without Yeti, we probably never would have gotten Lola.
Or, given their quirks, were we the people most meant to adopt and love them?
About 31 and a half years ago, I made a split second decision that resulted in my now almost-32 year old son. I had known from childhood I wasn't going to let the sins of my mother visit upon the heads of any future children I had, so I never planned to have kids. I was so afraid of being like my parents I swore I'd never have children and face that risk. Was my split-second decision, a yes instead of a no, destiny or accident? Was it happy accident, mere chance that my doctor was a kind, gentle man who came to my just-turned-20 self in the hospital room the day after the baby was born and said to me "Everyone is telling you to do what's best for the baby. But what is best for you?", a question whose answer shocked me and whose end result has given me so much joy and pride every time I look at my 31 year old's face. And that moment of serendipity--or destiny?--changed everything for me, changed my direction. Seven years later his brother was born. I was twice-blessed; was that destiny or serendipity?
I've lived in the Hudson Valley my whole life, always following the river farther north. The mountains change, from the Hudson Highlands, to the Shawangunks, to the Catskills that have won my heart like no others, but the river has remained constant, always caressing the land, a silky snake leaving an indelible trail. When I went to high school, I crossed the river twice a day. Thirty-some years later, I cross it twice a day for work. Did you know that the Hudson River is actually a tidal estuary? It has two currents. This can create great difficulties for divers, I've been told, but it's the nature of this river; it's who she is, coming and going. This morning on my way to work, it suddenly seemed to me that serendipity and destiny are like those two currents. There isn't either accident or fate; both exist simultaneously. We can flow north or south, and we make that decision, and within either flow is the serenity that invites serendipity and embraces destiny. Perhaps those happy accidents are our destiny. Maybe those accidents change destiny's direction.
We all know about Robert Frost's wandering in the woods and where it led him.....but did he choose that road, or did it choose him? Did an errant wind blow down a trail marker, or did destiny bathe that road in a hallowed light, blinding him to all other possibilities?
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
What do you think?