When the Universe Conspires…
…all the “lucky coincidences” in the world will not save us from the need to make a choice and say “yes” to them, will they?
I skipped this blog post in favor of what felt to me to be “part 3” of a series. A series that, in my mind, has become “The Dragonfly Saga.”
I say that this last post was “part 3,” because my first post about coincidence and the power of the dragonfly image was completed on August 22nd. Later that very same day, the coincidences continued to stack up. I scribbled down notes on them a couple of days later and had been planning to write “part 2” to what happened that day, but then…
I got sick. And as I recovered, I took a walk and spoke with my neighbor Lela about —what is now— my new fall project. I needed to take this new incident down in the moment instead of writing “part 2,” because what was happening at the time was just too perfect. It was like the “Dragonfly 3” blog post was writing itself and the dragonfly —once again— was the final, parting image that finished off the incident.
Plus I got sick and ran out of time. That will do it to you.
But Did I Delay “Part 2” for Another Reason?
The reality is, however, that I was also probably waiting for Steve Peters from Dragonfly Solar to do his part in completing what appeared to be a ridiculous cyclone of opportunity swarming around him.
I was waiting for him to return my email. And then my phone call.
I was waiting for him to see the opportunities that were laid out in front of him —opportunities of unbelievable “coincidence.”
What opportunities do I mean?
Well, after I left my half-annoyed, completely overwhelmed blog post on the subject of coincidence, there was another set of coincidences that occurred. And once again, they were completely in Steve’s favor.
I Have Never Seen a Dragonfly in My Backyard
It’s true. Although, I have only been living at the home I rent a room in for a single summer. However, when the weather is nice, I do work outside nearly every single day. My “work station”sits in the back yard along a tall wooden fence and consists of a portable, plastic table and a blue-padded office chair.
This means that while I have not lived at this house for long, I have been sitting in this backyard 3 to 6 times per week for the entire summer. And because I moved in on June 1st, I was able to start doing this as soon as the sun was available —this is, pathetically, after July 1st if you know the climate in Portland.
And in all of those many long days, typing furiously away, I have never seen a dragonfly.
Oh. Except for once. And at the most coincidental time.
The Writers From Chicago
I used to live in Chicago. In fact, I am sitting here now, in a clever little cupcake shop in Lincoln Square called Flirty Cupcakes —not because I am eating a cupcake, but because it was the only place on Lincoln Avenue with a cup of coffee, wifi and open table— that was not Starbucks.
I have been traveling and working while I travel. One of the greatest benefits to working on branding and inbound marketing strategy is that I can travel and work at the same time with no loss in productivity. So traveling for weddings —as I am now— is a little bit more feasible. There is no real “vacation time” required.
Of course, there is a trade off. Time has to come from somewhere and so the personal time I normally use to write for Million Monarchs suffers a bit. In fact, that is the reason that this blog post is so long in coming. I have so many incredible people to see and connect with and it is very time consuming —a wonderful problem to have.
So where are the writers? I actually met them in Portland, on the very same day I finished my first Dragonfly Post.
After my stint writing about the “coincidences”that led me to contact Steve Peters at Dragonfly Solar, I pedaled home at breakneck speed on my trusted, yellow Peugot bicycle. I was already late for a dinner with good friends and they were waiting for me. And at my house, no less.
Now, my roommates, Veronica and Mike, had just rented out the spare room in the house for the first time through Air BnB to a couple of guys traveling through Portland “on the cheap.” They were young writers. From Chicago, no less.
I had lived in Chicago for 8 years and —clearly— I am a writer, so we had something unusual in common. Since Chicagoans are world-renowned for being gregarious and genuine, I figured that we might get to know them a bit.
The Coincidences Continue
We hit it off, as expected. And I finished prepping dinner with my good buddies Kerry and Justo and my girlfriend, Jess, the conversation between us all flowed effortlessly. They were nice enough and having things in common kept the conversation moving.
Eventually we all drifted apart as they made plans to see the city and we all sat down to eat and head our separate ways.
While we sat eating dinner, however, Jerry —one of the writers— pulled out a guitar and began to play. His friend, Chester, began to sing in the living room.
Now Justo —my “partner-in-crime” over at sinPraxes— and I have just started a music collaboration where he plays guitar and I sing. As it turns out, for all the same reasons as Jerry and Chester. Something more to discuss.
Before long, everyone’s evening plans were in shambles as we all gathered late into night singing, carousing and having a music-filled blast that sent us to bed after 3 AM.
An Opportunity for Steve Peters
The next “morning” —around eleven— Justo, Jerry, Chester and myself gathered outside in the backyard over coffee. They were leaving in under an hour and Jess had flown off to get her daily routine over at The Bug Chicks underway.
In all our long night, writing as a subject had not come up. However, the wit and clarity with which the two Chicagoans spoke made believing in their skills an easy leap. Before long, Jerry and Chester were on fire with passion about the written word and were extolling the virtues of the “beat” poets, Alan Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. I admitted that I had not read them, to groans and protests from both of our new, young friends.
Jerry launched into a diatribe on why this was unacceptable, and then suddenly had an idea. Why don’t I borrow some of his Jack Kerouac books and send them back to him sometime?
“Better yet,” I proposed, “why don’t I just bring them back to you myself when I visit Chicago in September? I have to travel there for my buddy Aaron’s wedding.”
He loved the idea and the plan was set. Time to get a move on and part company.
I May Not Have the Time for Steve Peters, But…
As the conversation finished up, I felt like I had to ask Jerry and Chester what they were working on now.
As recent graduates, it turned out that the two of them were looking for opportunities and they loved the idea of writing about solar.
Suddenly it occurred to me. I may not have the time to pick up another client and learn about solar power in a new jurisdiction —but these guys did. Not just that, but I have a treasure-trove of resources, ideas, strategies and research that they could easily adapt to the Midwest and apply to Dragonfly Solar, pulling in clients through the web. Essentially, recreating what I am already doing for Sunbridge. Plus, they were excited about the prospect.
We could do a lot for Dragonfly Solar.
Jerry pushed his chair out to leave, and at that moment —and I am not making this up— the first dragonfly I have ever seen in my backyard chose that time to drift over the back fence and hover around the table. I looked at Justo and gestured with a “look” that he would understand. He nodded and chuckled.
The dragonfly drifted away from us and moved to the small, plastic desk-table at which I usually work —we were clustered at the larger, round patio table— and landed there.
“Steve Peters, this is your lucky day,” I mused.
And we parted company.
Too Long… Too Late?
Steve Peters never returned my email or my call.
I met with Jerry on Sunday, here in Chicago. We had a ball and both of us are certain that something wants to happen. His excitement for nonfiction solar as a subject is waning quite a bit, however. He feels like it must be something else now.
Is it possible that all universe had swarmed around Mr. Peters for a moment, only to leave us all with a chuckling sigh at “what almost was?” Did he miss the boat, unable to read the signs that aligned on his behalf? Is the dragonfly now bound to fade as a symbol in our lives?
I was pondering this question in Milwaukee, Wisconsin this past Tuesday as I sat at Kristin Otero’s kitchen table. Kristin and Angel are like family to me, and Jess and I were talking with their 5-year old daughter Lucy as she scribbled around on a small piece of white paper. Directly behind Lucy’s right ear —on a shelf and out of her line of sight— was a cute little dragonfly thing standing in a large, round aluminum tin stuffed with pens, pencils and erasers.
I say it was a “dragonfly thing,” because it was shaped like a pen with an artistic-looking, plastic-crystal-studded dragonfly on top; but there was no tip to it or any way to write with it. It looked kind of like a swizzle stick or something.
I glanced at it and shook my head a little.
A few moments later, Lucy stopped drawing on her paper, quite suddenly. She looked directly behind her and into the metal tin then gently lifted the “dragonfly stick,” and held it up to my face.
“Look,” she said, “do you like it?”
“Yes, Lu. I like it very much.”
Jess, sitting across from us, smiled.
Maybe It Is What We Make of It
Now, am I making too much of a symbol that we find in art and life around us all the time?
But as I sat thinking through this question on Kristin and Angel’s back porch later that morning —and working away on a new online pricing calculator for Sunbridge Solar— once again, I got an answer. A dragonfly drifted up gently from deep in the backyard and perched itself just under Kristin’s arm rest as she lay reading a book, draped across her very pregnant belly.
I looked at it for a long time and shook my head for the second time that morning.
I Guess, In the End, It Feels Like I have a Choice
Do I shake off the uncanny feeling of potential that hangs around me as a silly, “new age” swing at wishful fantasy?
Or do I embrace it as fun and inspiring symbol of… something that wants to happen. Something that wants to see us turn this world and planet around before it is too late?
In Steve’s case, it sure felt like there was an opportunity laid out for him. Something unique, uncanny and filled to the brim with potential. But he could not see it. Or maybe he would not see it.
And where does that leave the rest of us? Maybe there really is something that wants to see us help to pull something hopeful together for our future. And maybe the symbols clustering around us really are guiding the way toward these actions. Maybe all of us are being presented with symbols like this at a very critical moment in the history of our planet —if we can choose to see them.
…Or maybe I am just making this all up in my own imagination as I struggle to place a symbol on top of a what can feel like an impossible task —healing a dying planet before it is too late.
In the end though, does it matter?
I already know my choice.
Thanks for reading!