A Year of Gifts
I admit it. I was struggling with what to write about for this week’s post. Last November, I committed to posting a blog entry every Sunday morning for at least one year. My writing prompt would be a chapter name from my first novel, Whispering Pines. Each chapter in the book is named for one of the endless gifts life has to offer. Writing the posts is fun, and I’ve stuck to my commitment, but some weeks are tougher than others to come up with something I hope you’ll find inspiring and fun. Now, stay with me, because this gets really good.
I also like structure and spreadsheets. In addition to being a writer, I’m an accountant. Bit of a strange combination, I know! A month or two into my one-year blogging experiment, I decided to “assign” the chapter headings to a specific week for the coming months. It would give me a place to start each week and some topics lend themselves better to certain times of the year. I’ve done some rearranging along the way, but it’s helped.
Months ago, I assigned the “Gift of Night Waves” title to my July 29th blog post. It’s a pivotal chapter in the book, one that has a big impact on my main character’s life and it takes place half-a-world away. So fun! But I was struggling to come up with an idea for this blog post. I was ready to switch to Gift of Distraction and speak to Night Waves later. But then something happened Friday night that still boggles my mind.
Today’s post really started three years ago, well before I even thought about writing a blog and two years before publishing my first novel. It was a beautiful summer day at the lake and we’d just purchased two new kayaks. I’d never been in a kayak before. If you’ve done any kayaking, you know they can be tricky to get into and out of, but once you’re in, they can be fun and relatively easy to navigate, at least on a calm day.
Novice kayaker that I was, I wore my favorite flip flops on my first outing. Getting in was a bit rocky but I made it. Getting out, not so much. We don't have a sandy lake bottom in front of our cabin. In fact, it can be quite nasty. Lots of clay, sharp shale and muck. I got within a couple feet of shore. Balancing the little craft, I managed to get my first leg out and step on the lake bottom. The water was only about knee deep. As I stood and hoisted myself out of the kayak, I could feel my first foot sink deep into the sludge. I took a step toward shore and my sandal pulled off my foot, stuck. I wasn’t worried. I’d just get the boat up out of the water and come back and pull my flip flop out of the crud. After all, it was only a few feet from shore, right in front of our shale beach.
But there was a problem. The more I ran first my feet and then my hands over the top of the sludge to find my favorite shoe, it was as if it had disappeared. You have to understand, I loved those flip flops and this was ridiculous. A shoe can’t just disappear. Can it?
Actually, it could. I searched in vain but it was gone, even going so far as to offer a $20 reward to any kid that could find my left flip flop. I don’t give up easily. Anytime I was down in that area, I’d look. But as the days and weeks passed, I knew it had likely let loose from the bottom at some point and floated away. My missing shoe became a bit of a family joke. A little mystery. I couldn’t bring myself to toss the matching shoe. You just never know, right?
Remember, my shoe was lost to the lake bottom in the summer of 2015. Now, fast forward to Friday evening, July 27, 2018. It’s a beautiful, calm evening and my daughters go down to the dock to do a little fishing. After the flurry of activity that comes with our Friday night arrivals at the cabin, I decide to go join them on the dock to relax and catch up a little. The sun is starting to set and I’ve been sitting too long. Thinking I’d explore a little before full dark fell, I wandered off the dock, heading along the shore line back toward the cove. I’d only gone a couple of yards when I stopped, my eyes wandering over the water lapping against the shore. Sometimes you can see little minnows swimming there.
The water wasn’t clear. It had a brownish cast. Right near the shore, something was floating. It could have been a small chunk of wood, maybe bark, but it looked out of place. I bent down to take a closer look. Now it looked like the sole of a shoe. Yep, you guessed it.
I can’t make this stuff up. We’d searched on and off for three years for my favorite little flip flop. Kids don’t give up easily either when there’s twenty bucks on the line and they knew I was good for it, if only they could find the sunken treasure. Too bad for them I was the one to finally find it, floating along the shore, three years later, in the same area I’d lost it.
Picking it up, my initial thought was someone was trying to pull a fast one on me. Maybe putting my right sandal into the water where I could find it? I’d always thought that, if it was still stuck out there, there would be little left of it. But my shoe didn’t look too bad. It was still intact, and mud caked, but in better shape than I thought possible.
We were all in a bit of shock. My girls were adamant they didn’t know anything about someone sticking the “other” sandal in the water that I’d saved all these years, just to play a joke on me. I ran up to the cabin, rinsed off the muck from my find, and left it on the patio so I could go dig through the shoe basket inside. And there it was. The mate to my lost shoe I hadn’t been able to throw away…just in case. No one had tricked me. I’d gotten a little gift, the night before my birthday, floating gently on the night waves.
I could just write it off as a series of coincidences. But when I combine the fact my favorite sandal was missing… in the water…for three years and it just happened to break loose and I happened to walk by the shore and find it before it could float away, coupled with the fact I’d initially planned to create a blog post called Gift of Night Waves for this Sunday, it’s all a bit crazy. Oh, and there is one more twist. Today, as I write this post, it’s 7/28/18, my first birthday without my amazing mother. She’s been on my mind so much lately. All these “firsts” without her are tough. She was a frequent visitor at our cabin and knew of my quest to find my missing shoe. She’d laugh and shake her head at me.
I’m going to chose to accept my gift from the waves as a sign and an important reminder. Never give up on something, no matter how long it takes or ridiculous it seems. Not everything can be explained. I’ll even let myself imagine it might just have been a little birthday greeting, sent by an angel.
There are little miracles around us every day, stay open to them! Kim
Kimberly Diede Author
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!