The other evening, we were driving home from a photo workshop I had just given at the McBride Library (Berwick, PA). I was in the back seat. Daniel was driving, and my Dad was in the front passenger seat. My two best friends. The two loves of my life. Whenever they can, they attend all my seminars, lectures, book signings, and exhibit receptions. Always there for me in good times and bad. I don’t know what I would do without them.
Suddenly, a thump and a slight swerve. We had hit a deer, a young, not insubstantial buck. I saw it fly off our front grill, onto the hood, headed for the windshield and straight for Daniel and Dad.
In the blink of an eye, everything could have changed.
But the body slid off the car without getting near my loves.
All I could think of was how lucky we were. Then, I realized that many (most?) folks wouldn’t consider themselves lucky after incurring what will probably be thousands of dollars of car damage.
Yes, I am one of those people who see black storm clouds in the sky and gets excited at the raw power and beauty of nature. I often come in from having to walk through a downpour, soaking wet and laughing. And if I sprained my ankle, I’d probably be annoyed but thankful that the injury wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
But the whole incident with the deer may me wonder about the idea of luck. I am a lucky woman. I have two wonderful men in my life who love me and would do anything for me. I’m warm in winter, comfortable in summer. I eat what I want, when I want it (unless I’m on a diet). My work as a writer and photographer is fulfilling, challenging and apparently appreciated. No, I’m not satisfied, but that’s a subject for another essay. (If I were satisfied, I wouldn’t be as driven as I am to write the next novel, create the next picture, more clearly, more dynamically, ever reaching beyond my grasp.) I have so much more than most people on this earth.
What is it to be lucky? I don’t believe in superstitions or the supernatural. I have doubts about anything out there powerful enough to have control over all existence that would want to bother with the day to day moments and events in one woman’s short life. But the inner primitive within me, the part that isn’t and can’t be influenced by my intellectual pragmatism can’t help wondering…. Am I adding up points on the balance scale, weighing it so heavily in one direction that it is bound to tip over, catastrophically, at some time in the future?
I don’t know.
I can’t possible know.
All I can do is try to live the best life I can, be thankful for the people who love me and the opportunities I have. And when I see a glass with water, I will continue to see not a half-full or half-empty vessel, but one that would be perfect for keeping a flower alive a little longer.