Saturday, 14 September 2013


Once in a while, just when you aren’t expecting it, the bits and pieces of your life come together to make a whole and beautiful moment. I love it when that happens. It could be called serendipity: “the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it,” says Wikipedia, 

But to me,  it’s even more than that. In fact, Wikipedia says that the word serendipity has been listed as one of the top 10 words that are hard to define, and I’d have to agree. Whatever its meaning, I love it when serendipity happens. You can’t look for it, you can’t plan it, but when it occurs, you know it, and it feels so good. Heavenly, actually.

I appliqued these eagles to a silk cushion cover.
Scene One: 
On Sunday morning we are  leaving the house to go to church, when we hear a high-pitched whistling call in the clear air. Five eagles are sitting in the top of a dying tree across the road, and more are winging their way back and forth over the rushing river waters. The eagles are in our neighbourhood because the salmon have returned from their sojourn in the ocean and are beginning their run up the Puntledge, returning to their birthplace to spawn and die. Thousands are filling the river, and when they’ve  completed their mission, their spent carcasses will litter the shallows, ripe picking for the eagles. The cycle of the seasons is continuing, as it has for millennia.

 Scene Two: We are driving to church. The light is soft and golden and the sky is a cloudless blue, as it can only be on a warm Sunday in September. The leaf colours have gone from a vibrant green to muted olive and amber. Goldenrod, Queen Anne’s lace and the last of the tansies bloom in the ditches, and scarlet rosehips adorn the bushes. We bask in the beauty all the way to church.

An experimental thread study of Queen Anne's Lace flowers.

Scene Three: We are sitting in church, and the choir anthem is a song popularized by Cat Stevens but actually written by children’s author Eleanor Farjeon back in 1931 as a morning hymn. The choir is in fine form, and I close my eyes and am carried along with the melody and words that are blending with the images I’ve already experienced

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day.

I cannot put into words, I cannot define the sensation I experienced listening to that simple and yet profound tribute to creation and the Creator. For a moment, I felt that the world came together in a beautiful whole.

It was “an accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it” ... it was serendipity.

A confession: after writing this, I actually thought of retitling this piece A Numinous Experience (because that’s what it really was, besides being serendipitous.) But I figured nobody would read a blog with such a lofty title. I used to get really riled when people dropped that word into conversation; it sounded so airy-fairy, artsy-fartsy, woo-woo. But now I think it’s a wonderful word, and maybe someday I will write about it. You've been warned!

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