Serendipity and writing

Serendipity is defined as ‘happy accident’. Coming across something wonderful when you’re not looking for it. These moments are pure treasure for anybody, but for a writer, they are part of the compost heap that must be built, in order to be mined at a later date.

I’m lucky enough to have had many serendipitous moments in my life and one of them happened here, overlooking the amazing falls at Niagara. I mentioned in my post the other day that we spent a holiday travelling up through New England – – well, we concluded our trip by crossing the border into Canada, staying over in Niagara and continuing on to  fly back from Toronto.

We did the touristy things. The Maid of the Mist (much scarier than I expected and where I made my peace with my Maker, convinced I would never escape the water, the rocks, or that incredible noise), the helicopter ride (not as hairy as I expected and I got some great pictures), you know the kind of thing.

The following day, we just walked, laughing as we took in the atmosphere of this mad town. And as we walked along in front of the falls, taking our photographs and people watching, one young woman caught my eye. She seemed upset. Sniffing, searching for a tissue, wiping her nose on her sleeve and blinking tears away in an embarrassed way. I fished out a tissue for her.

“Are you all right?”

She began to laugh through her tears and nodded as she took the tissue. It was only then that I notice the young man, poised nearby with a camera. She waved her hand at me, still unable to speak, but in the spray-filled sunshine, I caught the sparkle of a ring.

“Have you just asked her to marry you?” My own eyes began to glaze.

“And she said ‘Yes’!” burbled the young man, who was in no better state than his brand new fiancée. “I was trying to take her photo with the engagement ring in front of the Falls.”

After several tissues and much nose-blowing, including on the part of my husband, together with congratulatory hugs, we took pictures of them both with their own camera and left them together to enjoy their moment.

Their engagement was a special happy time for them in front of the spectacular falls, to remember all their lives.

But it was our moment too. A tiny piece of serendipity, a gift for us to remember.



19 responses to “Serendipity and writing

  1. That’s a great story, Pat! I must confess, though, your odds of coming across a proposal at Niagara Falls is probably a bit higher than, say, a truck stop outside of Des Moines… 🙂

    • Now don’t you go and spoil it!
      I know you’re probably right, but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a great moment – and we were with a couple of others who thought Niagara was ‘Like Blackpool with a waterfall’ – yawn – and decided to take a trip out to somewhere else.
      We thought – and think still – that we had the better deal.

  2. Pat, sounds like this trip happened a couple of years ago? I hope so, because if you were to come over the pond, visit New England, and I didn’t know about it…I’d be disappointed to have missed the opportunity to have met you in person. So, if you ever come this way again…you be sure to let me know. Okay? 🙂

    • You are so sweet – yes, a couple of years ago. We had a lovely time. It was a super area to visit and we met some more lovely people. Everyone was very kind and helpful, showing us true New England hospitality. And there was so much to see.
      We would love to come back and explore there some more – so you must be careful what you say! 🙂

  3. Interesting! The Slo-Man actually lived in the town of Niagara Falls, Canada for a couple of years and he currently lives an hour away. He’s never seen any proposals and while there may have been honeymooners, he’s never seen *look* like it.

    The Slo-Man actually found the Maid of the Mist less scary once he had the poncho on than when he looked down upon it.

    Too bad the Slo-Man had no idea you were coming over to his neck of the woods. He’d have loved to met in person.

    • And it would have been great to meet you too Slo-man – I really did find the Maid of the Mist incredibly scarey. The more so when my husband disappeared to the back of the boat to take pictures from that angle and the guy next to me said, as the boat turned, ‘We’re awful close to those rocks’.
      Yes. I really needed that comment.
      And the noise is indescribable.

  4. What a nice story! And I’m sure they were grateful to have you stop by to get their photo together of their special moment. 🙂

  5. What a wonderful story 😀

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