Sunday, April 14, 2013

Savoring Life's Happy Accidents

I reflect occasionally on the happy accidents in life ... the serendipitous moments that shape significant creations or beget precious memories.

I'm sure fellow photographers can relate to this concept.  You can work for hours to design the ultimate shot.  It could be flawlessly framed, given absolute attention to detail in aperture, shutter, lighting...yet 50 shots may result in only one good picture.  Such is the nature of the work.  And after driving away from the scenic destination where you painstakingly plotted a tripod-enabled photography session, you glimpse light cascading through mist-covered trees at a bend in the road.  Suddenly, you stop your car to quickly capture the moment, and the shot becomes your favorite of the day.

Or perhaps one day you are chasing your children, or a butterfly, or a sunbeam, camera carelessly in hand.  And while snapping happily with no thought to composition, you achieve art.  Beauty.  Unplanned perfection.  Better yet, your hour-long meticulous efforts to create a prize-worthy portrait were rewarded unexpectedly when someone disturbed the scene.  What was intended to be a portrait became art when a child abruptly ran through the frame. 

In these moments, we realize that beauty erupts with no thought, no intention...just reaction or momentum.

Relationships are sometimes birthed from accidental happenstance; I imagine more often than not, we find ourselves enveloped in a remarkable relationship not of our making, nor planning.  From the machinations of life, sometimes obtuse or even irritating, emerge meaningful exchanges that blossom into beloved friendships.  I can thank happy accidents for more than one esteemed friend.  Years ago, I was introduced to my best friend through more than one haphazard meeting, including an Azure food co-op drop that technically didn't exist, and a run-in at the office of a holistically minded "natural family" friendly pediatrician that I visited only once (for an appointment that I made with hesitancy and nearly canceled).

Another dear friendship came to me through a box of books, purchased in an online homeschool classified ads site, the first one I came upon through my Google search.  And I can recall how a PayPal glitch in my online salve shop led to a potential customer email that later developed into a valuable friendship.  Ironically, I had been reviling the efforts I had expended and confusion I had suffered in attempting to set up said shop.  In the end, business hasn't been great, LOL, but the friendship has been wonderful.

Some of my favorite happy accidents happen in the kitchen.  One hectic day, while making a batch of Cacao Bites, I neglected some butter and honey left to "slowly and gently" melt on the stove.  The resultant browned butter and thickly caramelized honey made the most delightful Cacao (Caramel) Nibbles we've yet enjoyed.  I'd love to be able to credit Divine inspiration, but I must admit it was rather a case of Divine intervention; the butter and honey were discovered before irredeemable damage had been done.

Delicious meals have materialized out of an explosion of creative energy, or simply from one too many dashes of a misread, misplaced spice.  And a batch of undercooked cacao cupcakes became a moist, chewy, coveted family favorite, made all the more appealing by a child vigorously dosing the mixing bowl with cinnamon and ginger behind mama's back.
One of my favorite happy accidents, spotting a "Store Closing" sign at an immense used book store (ah, the happiest of places), resulted in the addition of several longed for, and now well-loved and well-used, additions to our family library.

While I do not classify children as accidents, even when our womb is blessed unexpectedly, I want to close these cogitations by expressing my gratitude and joy for my "unexpected" (in timing) but dearly desired children.  They are gifts, they are challenges, they are works of art...they enrich my life beyond measure.  And the day I met their father, while I did not know it at the time, was the happiest "accident" of my life.