We spent a good fifteen minutes watching the hare.
It did not really seem to want to move initially, I expect that it was up wind of us and did not smell my deodorant. When it did realise we were there it began to lollop (is that a word? I guess so, as the spellchecker seemed to like it) away gently as we walked up the hill peering it through the binoculars the Lovely Wife had remembered to bring. It was a special moment with a fine animal – normally the closest view is its bottom as it speeds away.
But really we shouldn’t have seen it at all. If we have come the right way up from the beach, following the path the walk book intended, we would probably have not seem anything. We went wrong and got rewarded for it. That’s when the universe does strange things to me and plays with my head.
I think we all have examples. Cases where we have missed something (let’s say a train, Sliding Doors style) perhaps, and gone onto have an adventure that has become formative in our development. Or perhaps meet someone that turns out, in the long term, to be a good friend. Or you just happen to meet someone at a party who happens to know someone who has a position for someone just like you.
I think it is interesting to think through whether this is just luck or something else. When I think about luck I do not mean some kind of finite source of blessing dispensed by the goddess Fortuna. What I tend to thin of is something that just happens and that you are caught up in and then you can either be impacted in a positive or negative way – or perceive it in one of those ways.
For example, I take the hare incident positively and I am therefore focussing on the wildlife moment rather than on the extra half mile that added to an already long walk (including a dodgy section along a busy road). We were ‘lucky’ to see a hare at relatively close quarters or, if you prefer, ‘unlucky’ to miss the correct footpath and end up with more muscle ache.
I know where I am on this particular case, but another’s take might be different.
I think an awful lot of the world is up to us to perceive and take solace or offence from as we decide.
But I think it is a mistake to see this as all being a bit random. I could invoke higher powers… But I am not on that soap box. What I mean is that we bias the events and outcomes all the time without thinking about it.
For example, I could argue that we saw the hare because we (1) went out for a walk in the country, and there are plenty of hares up there in Norfolk (2) we were walking a long way, away from most of the other visitors, so there was less chance of a shy animal being scared by the rest of the humans in the area – indeed we were somewhere really we shouldn’t have been, all things considered, and the poor beastie probably was more surprised than we were at the encounter and (3) one of the reasons we were out was to look for wildlife so we were attuned to any opportunity that did arise (although admittedly we were mostly expecting interesting birds).
That’s only three reasons why the encounter starts to look increasingly less random and much more, well, expected. It doesn’t make it any less special, though.
In the end I think I am blessed (and you can decide yourself whether you take that in the general or the theological sense) to have an interest in pretty much anything and taking a joy in the world I find myself in all its incredible diversity and beauty. If I was lucky in any way this weekend it was in being able to see the situation in a positive light because the rewards of that I think are richer and long lasting. I would like to be able to transfer that feeling to more areas of my life, and to find the way to perceive as much as possible of that to be a happy accident.