Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Fork in the Road -- Robin

Actually, it was more like a forked tongue in the road. I was having one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days and decided to go for a run on my favorite trail overlooking the ocean. The plan was to run as fast as I could to the end of the trail where I always run into my magical leprechaun (if that sounds loopy, check out this post for details). 100 yards short of my inspirational point, I rounded a corner and came across a huge rattlesnake lying across the trail.

“Hello there, Mr. Rattlesnake,” I said tip-toe-ingly. “Mind moving aside so I can pay a visit to my leprechaun and end this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?”

Nothing. Not even an obligatory rattle.

I figured this no good day was just continuing so I turned around to go home. But then I reminded myself that when I’m faced with an event like this, especially an unusual one like a rattlesnake blocking my way to happiness, it must be a sign from The Almighty (and when I say Almighty, I’m picturing the late, great Dr. Seuss). So instead of going home, I took a different path. It went straight out to a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

I sat down on the bluff, crossed my legs, and just looked and listened. I figured Dr. Seuss sent me there for a reason and I was ready to find out what it was. At first I didn’t see or hear anything unusual. I just felt it. My body was warm, the perfect temperature, and I felt both rested and energized at the same time…almost euphoric. I realized that I had been resisting the writing of a certain scene in my book where my character would feel the same way I was feeling at that moment. I resisted because I didn’t know how to describe it. But now I had the experience and the words to use. All because of a carefully placed rattlesnake.

I stood up and looked straight down into the ocean. Just 30 feet below me was a sea otter lying on his back looking up at me. He was having one of those Discovery Channel moments where he was trying to crack open a mussel and looking incredibly cute. I looked up and down the trail to see if I could point him out to someone else. But on this particular stretch of California coastline, I was the only one experiencing this adorable moment at this particular place in time. Well, me and Dr. Seuss.

I went back to the trail to thank the rattlesnake for making my day an all too good, beautiful, wonderful day.

But he was gone.

- Robin

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