Thursday, April 24, 2014

Reminders That It's a Small World

(Note:  I wrote this post a couple of months ago and forgot to publish it.)

I've had a number of odd experiences that have reminded me of what a small world this can be.  When I was at the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, I saw the barn belonging to Bombay's second horse trainer.  I looked for her, but it was after hours and everyone had left for the day.  I remembered to look her up on the Internet to see how she did at the show, and discovered that she recently moved from my old town in Nevada to Scottsdale.  Although it is not surprising that an established horse trainer would relocate to Scottsdale, I find it odd that two people from the same small town who know each other moved to the same general location within a couple of years of each other without knowing it.

Last year my husband and I took a half day trail ride at a local rental horse stable where my farrier once worked as a trail guide.  He told me who to request as our guide, and we got him.  We talked with him a lot throughout the morning, and I remember one topic of conversation was all the gold mining shows on TV.  Then, one night I turned on the TV, found a new-to-me gold mining show, and there was my trail guide and his brother, who I met briefly, on the show!  Locals probably know who he is, but I'm not going to mention his name or the name of his TV show just to respect his privacy.

A long, long time ago, I met a certain Pulitzer Prize winning poet and was awed by her steely grace.  At first, she intimidated me, but as soon as she realized that I was uncomfortable, she shifted her demeanor and treated me with warmth and kindness.  Many years after that, at the peak of my own poetry writing efforts, my work was reviewed and compared with that of the Pulitzer Prize winning poet I had met.  I was humbled that literary judges would speak of my work so favorably and hold it up on the same level as this other woman's work.

I started reading her more recent work and realized that we did have a lot in common.  We both preferred the rural lifestyle and owned horses.  As a result, we both wrote pastoral poems that often included animals, but our intent behind the message went much deeper than just a description of the small ranch life.  She was nearly killed in a carriage driving accident, but survived after a long ordeal, recovering from a broken neck and other injuries.  I decided to write her a fan letter, send her one of my poems, and tell her what the judges said about my work being reminiscent of her own.  I half expected her to write back and say, "This is shit!  You don't write anything like me."

But in actuality, I figured the letter would never reach her, or if it did, she would not respond.

I was amazed to receive a warm, personable response.  I had told her that I asked for her latest book of poems for my birthday, and she told me a little bit about it.  Much of the book was poems about her horses.  She asked me to write back after I read it and tell her what I thought of it, and she gave me her personal address so that I wouldn't have to go through her publisher.  I did write her back, and I loved the book.  She wrote to me a second time and gave me her phone number.

About a month ago she popped into my mind.  I got the distinct feeling that she was ill.  I considered fishing out those old letters and calling her just to see how she was doing.  I figured she wouldn't remember me, and might even be annoyed with the intrusion, so I let the thought go as soon as I had it.  Then one night I searched for her on the Internet to see if she had written anything new, and was shocked to find that she had died about a month before.  I guess that once you achieve a strong connection with someone, even if you only met in person once, the bond stays with you.

A friend who grew up with my mother and stayed friends with her throughout their lives had moved near me when I lived in Nevada.  Being a psychotherapist and a close family friend, she was instrumental in helping me get through my mother's death.  When I moved away, I worried about her, because she lived alone and all of her family was out of state.  I recently got the sense that her health was failing her, but before I could email her to ask how she was doing, she emailed me and told me she was moving in with one of her daughters because she could no longer take care of herself.  I was so relieved that she was willing to accept help.  I had tried to get my own mother to at least move closer to us, if not move in with us, when she got older, but she held on strong to her independence.  I suspect that had she lived with us, she might be alive today.  But, I also know that moving would have put a lot of stress on my mother, and she definitely wouldn't have been happy living with us.  She loved us, but was a loner, just like me.

There were quite a few other odd happenings involving running into strangers and finding out that we have some kind of past connection.  It was a bit overwhelming having all these weird things happening within the same short period of time.

1 comment:

achieve1dream said...

That's so sad about your poet friend dying. 😢

Those are some weird coincidences. It is a small world for sure.