How about declaring 2016 the Year of Serendipity?
I believe in serendipity. I experience lots of it in my nomadic life (though I often use ‘miracle’ instead); I want even more “unexpected discoveries”; and I’ve been curious about how serendipity happens.
So, what serendipity that I picked up a copy of the first Sunday New York Times of 2016! It has an article, ”Cultivating the Art of Serendipity” by Pagan Kennedy. She was a pioneer of the “zine movement” of the 1990s which popularized small-edition self-published photocopied materials. (Who knew there was such a movement?)
Here’s a bit of what Pagan Kennedy says: Serendipity is “the art of finding what we’re not seeking.” It’s more than luck, because people who attract serendipity are observers, they pay attention, they believe they “have special powers of perception,” and they’re open to encounters. Kennedy calls them “super-encounterers.”
What I especially enjoyed learning is that the word ‘serendipity’ was proposed by Horace Walpole in the mid-1700s when he learned of the Isle of Serendip through a Persian tale. The detective-princes in the tale often made discoveries, by accident, of things they weren’t looking for. So, “[a]t its birth, serendipity means a skill rather than a random stroke of good fortune.”
Super-encournterers are awake, alert, attentive, aware—and of course, many scientific advances have come serendipitously.
Yesterday I experienced serendipity. I’ve moved to a new house-sitting location in Boulder, CO. In the cold late-afternoon, I took a meandering walk and got lost-ish.
Below is a picture of the charming discovery I encountered I made at 17th Street & Dellwood Avenue.
(Oops, I can’t seem to get the pix loaded. I’ll come back and do it later.)
This tiny library was attached to a tree, beckoning children and adults alike to choose something to read. I have subsequently learned that there are several of these street libraries around Boulder and there is a movement and a website, LittleFreeLibrary.org, connected with them.
Ah, that makes me happy. Which is what serendipity is supposed to do. I welcome more super-encounters in this lovely new year.