Close Encounters

When I was out on a walk earlier this week, I noticed one of the ubiquitous neighborhood squirrels drinking water out of a puddle near the sidewalk.

I was musing about how I didn’t recall ever seeing a squirrel drink water before. And the squirrel, who had looked up and seen me coming, seemed to be mulling over whether I might be a friend or a foe.

Foe, I presume, was his assessment, because even though I did my best not to startle him, he made a fast and furious dash for the nearest tree.

And then, much to my surprise, an orange cat came bounding out of some secret space and made a beeline for his quarry.

The squirrel scampered up the tree trunk just as the cat was closing in on him.

I had stopped in my tracks to watch this real-life drama and was subsequently relieved to see the squirrel climb to safety. And at the same time, I felt kind of sorry for the orange cat who now sat at the base of tree staring upwards at his lost prey.

I resumed walking and thought to myself, “Wow, I think I may’ve just saved that squirrel’s life!”

For indeed, if I had not chanced to walk by at that exact moment, the unsuspecting squirrel might have wound up a creek without a paddle instead of safely up a tall tree.

It’s interesting how a simple chance encounter can change, well…EVERYthing!

We humans glide through life often-times distracted and unaware of close-calls and synchronous events and yet, these subtle gifts play a big part in shaping the everyday parts of our journeys.

There have been several times in my life when, for whatever reason, I’ve hesitated before stepping off of a street corner into a crosswalk. And then I have watched, stunned, as a speeding jackass runs through a red light only a few feet away from where I stood.

Generally, the close-calls and chance encounters aren’t very dramatic, and yet it’s still amazing how a big a difference they can make in our lives.

I have always been enchanted by the story of how my mother and father first met.

My Dad owned a travel agency in Southern California. One day my mother walked in looking to buy an airplane ticket to San Francisco.

My Dad was single and apparently he was taken with my Mom at first sight. So he asked her if she wanted to go out.

But, alas for Dad, my Mom had to politely decline…”I’m married,” she explained.

So my mother went off to foggy San Francisco and my Dad continued to work at his office in foggy Santa Monica. And a whole year went by.

And darned if my Mom didn’t go back to the same travel agency to purchase another ticket.

And my Dad remembered the dark-haired young woman who had visited him 365 days beforehand.

“Are you still married?” my Dad asked inbetween phone calls and shuffling papers around.

And the answer this time was “No”!!

My Mom had divorced the creep in San Francisco and had moved back to SoCal to be with family.

Well, the rest, as they say, is history (or fate…who knows?).

But just think of all the close-calls, chance encounters and serendipity that went into the formation of that union!

Airplane travel, customer loyalty, a good memory, a lousy first husband, the courage to ask questions and two cities combined like flour and sugar to create a lovely cake. (And ME! Eventually….)

Any change to that ingredient mix could have resulted in a different outcome.

My Dad’s brother could have been at the counter on that fateful day or my Mom could have said, No, I’ve got to wash and set my hair on Saturday night or possibly my Dad might even have met someone else during the interim.

These kinds of things happen every day, even when it seems like nothing is happening at all.

Two different chance encounters eleven years apart resulted in the feline menagerie that I have now. A simple unplanned decision to go out instead of stay in resulted in me finding my current abode.

When I was walking the other day, I never would have thought that I could have saved a squirrel’s life just by kind of being there. (Or I ruined a cat’s day — it depends how you look at it I suppose….)

So even when life seems boring and dull and like nothing is happening, amazing things are afoot. There’s are surprises around every corner and as long as we remember to be open to them , we’ll find them.

©June 2011 by Phyllis J. Hanniver


About pjh95811

I am a writer and poet living in California. I love cats, dogs, nature, poetry, spirituality and the Pacific Ocean.
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2 Responses to Close Encounters

  1. june gillam says:

    Delicious word wanderings!!!!!

  2. pjh95811 says:

    Thank you, June!!

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