Say a fervent blessing for that gorgeous, green-giving rain! Even if you don’t believe in God Almighty, or in any particular religion (some agnostics I talked to this past summer think it’s strange that one religion tells followers they can only get to heaven through their dogma while a dozen other creeds explain that heaven’s gate is only achieved through their doctrine, but we won’t get into that ), please offer a sincere thanks to Mother Nature for that magnificently paced moisture that fell on our brittle-brown, bone dry coastal hills last week.
Out on a high bluff at Leffingwell last Thursday, the tempest was so fierce I had to hold my umbrella directly at the thrashing pellets of rain, coming straight at me.
While attempting to peek around the side of the umbrella to witness the wildly churning waves, a song kept pestering my mind.
I hadn’t heard it in months, but there it was, hammering me like the storm. It was Bonnie Tyler’s “Straight From the Heart.” I returned to my car, clicked on my radio, and there was the Tyler tune, just beginning.
Little chills ran up and down my spine. But if it was synchronicity (“temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events” according to iconic psychologist Carl Jung), it was nothing new under the sun (or in this case, under the rain) for me. These things happen to me (and many others, I presume) often. Indulge me while we scoot back in time to New Year’s Day, 1998, when it all started.
I was driving in my aging Ford from New Mexico to San Diego on Interstate 8. Bored, I checked my odometer (it was at 88,881) and anxiously waited for it to turn to all 8’s.
At the exact split second that it turned 88,888 miles, a big green highway sign read, “San Diego, 88 Miles.” Whew. That was interesting indeed. But not nearly as fascinating as what would play out over the next two days.
While in San Diego I always go for early morning power walks at low tide. The first day I hadn’t tightened my tennis shoes firmly enough and a blister appeared on my left foot. Back at the motel I had just one band-aid, but that was all I needed. Next morning low tide was at 5:45. I was out there again, pounding along like a man possessed in the hard packed sand. Forty minutes into the power walk, I knew I was getting a blister on my right foot. So I stopped and walked from the ocean’s edge up to the empty boardwalk.
“Now I need two Band-Aids,” I said out loud, to no one in particular because I was alone. Twenty five yards (I measured it later) down the boardwalk I spotted two band-aids. Partially hidden by sand from the heavy human traffic the day before, they were nevertheless perfectly preserved in their packaging. One was the exact size of my original blister, the other fit perfectly on my new, smaller blister.
Pure coincidence? On one level it certainly was. On another, it fits into Carl Jung’s “meaningful coincidence” concept — synchronicity.
A few years ago while waiting in line to get into the Bronco Booster “reverse drawing” at the Vet’s Building, I was telling a basketball fan next to me about how I sub-let Bill Walton’s mansion in San Diego for the 1998 Super Bowl. “Bill Walton, the basketball player?” he asked. I answered “Yes” and, turning to my left I noticed — in big white all-caps identifying the brand of the crane perched on a long flat-bed truck — I saw the name “WALTON.”
There’s dozens more, but I’ll leave you with one last uncanny “meaningful coincidence.” Our house up here on Skye Street needs paint, and on a Saturday last year I was thinking about calling a friend (John) in San Luis Obispo who moonlights as a house painter.
We had talked about contacting him for a bid. I sat down on my deck, cracked open a cold beer and my cell phone rang. I could see it was John’s number. I answered but he didn’t respond — yet I could hear his voice. Phones sometimes place calls serendipitously if lodged tightly in a pocket and furthermore, I hadn’t spoken with him in months.
Since John also moonlights as a security person for concerts, I could tell he was walking some concert-attendees to their seats at a show in Avila Beach.
But here’s the kicker: I could clearly hear him telling the people he was ushering to their seats that he does house painting — and he even mentioned the kind of paint he uses on outdoor jobs. What are the odds of that happening after I had been thinking about getting in touch with him vis-à-vis a painting gig?
And what are the odds of enough rain falling this winter season to fill all the reservoirs? Moreover, what are the odds of every man, woman and child in Cambria faithfully practicing the art of speaking straight from the heart?