Timing Is Everything
Photo by Kuw_Son
Sometimes things happen for a reason. The timing seems to suck and none of it makes sense…until later. Then it’s easy to look back at a series of events and how they had to take place in a certain sequence to get the right result. One moment out of place and the outcome is completely different.
My favorite example (at the moment) happened at the Florida Pagan Gathering in Altoona at Beltane. Almost as soon as we arrived the first night, I had to go walk the labyrinth. I can never get enough of it! It’s a pattern of numbered stakes and white Christmas tree lights at the far end of the camp, near the lake and woods, in a very out of the way spot. Shannon and I walked it several nights while Aislinn went to volunteer elsewhere, and we decided we’d create a labyrinth of our own in our backyard this summer.
After the Main Ritual, the girls and I decided to head to the Fire Circle for time later with Maggie Shayne and Boom Boom. There were a couple of people I’d been hoping to talk with all weekend and kept missing them. It looked as if I might not get to see them at all on this trip.
After a short while at the Fire Circle, I was so parched from all the dust and night air that I announced I had to run all the way back to our cabin for a bottle of water. I’d be back in 15 minutes.
When I returned with my water bottle, my girls and everyone I knew had gone. I waited for just a few minutes, watching the tribal dancing and listening to the drummers. I decided the girls must have gone back to the cabin, so I walked all the way back. Empty! So I headed back to the Fire Circle. About an hour had passed by then and I was pooped from walking uphill so much.
Shannon spotted me as I walked up. She had that slightly desperate look in her eyes, like WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?
Right after I left the first time, Aislinn and Boom Boom had headed back to the pavillion for a second Spiral Dance concert, and Shannon had gone to the cabin to find me. We’d just missed each other. Back at the Fire Circle, I left just before she returned. Timing is everything, and we had very bad timing–and sore legs!
I wanted to hang out at the Fire Circle but Shannon was uncharacteristically antsy. She couldn’t stand to sit there. She gave me a few minutes to rest my feet and then we got up to walk some more(!).
Outside under the starry skies, we sat in the grass, just stopped and sat in the grass, identifying constellations in the light-pollution-free sky and talking. It was peaceful and pleasant, and I don’t know when I’ve seen the stars so bright.
Suddenly Shannon was ready to get up and walk, specifically for us to go walk the labyrinth. She hadn’t wanted to early but now was ready.
We’d been at the labyrinth just long enough to turn a few corners when a little girl about 5 to 7 years old timidly approached us. My first thought was, Where are your parents and why are you out here all alone in the pitch dark (Dark Moon night) next to the woods? This is where my typical Mother-of-the-World personality comes into play and I get very protective of children and frustrated with errant parents. I couldn’t imagine my kids being in this spot alone, ever.
Then it became clear that she was lost, but she wasn’t admitting it. She was very brave and had been well-instructed, trying not to talk to strangers or get too close to us, but we were probably the least threatening to her–a mother and teen daughter linking arms and walking the lighted pattern while talking lowly and occasionally laughing. She’d headed just around the corner, just a few feet away from her mom to the bathroom–and kept right on going to the other side of the camp, to the edge of the woods and lake. Poor kid was terrified!
She had cause to be–there was a bear spotted in that area an hour or so after and the lake does have alligators.
We immediately offered to take her back to where she needed to be and walked with her, while she ran ahead. What I really wanted to do was pick her up and hug her and tell her it would be fine and we’d make sure she was safe. It was a VERY long walk, and her worried mother actually spotted her first as we were walking with her to the bathrooms and to camp Security. Once I was satisfied that the woman was her mother–the little girl felt safe enough then that her brave facade melted and she burst into tears–Shannon and I went back to the Fire Circle and I immediately ran into the people I’d been hoping to talk with all weekend.
I had a lump in my throat–maternal fear and protectiveness are universal–and we felt much less antsy. Our comedy of errors and bad timing meant we were in the right place at the right time to escort a lost child back to her mother.