Stories from a small shop - A Ray of Sunshine
There's something about even the promise of good weather after an extended period of slodge that seems to make everything feel - well more optimistic. The hint of hazy sunshine yesterday was accompanied by a visit to the shop from one of the most upbeat and interesting characters I have ever met.
Thinking back, I can't even recall how the conversation started. The shop door bell rang, I leapt out of my back office and greeted a quite dapper gentleman (in his 70s it later transpired), exchanged a few pleasantries (probably about the weather) and before I knew it, we had launched into the most fascinating conversation about former lives. His early rejection by his parents, he told me, was entirely a karmic lesson brought about by his former existence as a Bedouin who had fathered (and rejected) at least four sons in pursuit of his own selfish ends. Now I know this may sound fanciful, but the tale was delivered with such conviction, and underlined by such a sense of the peace and acceptance it gave him as explanation for his current existence, that it was very hard not to believe him.
He then said the most uncanny thing: "I get the sense that you are only 90% content. This shop has a lot to do with your happiness, but there's still something incomplete - which has something to do with nature and a river. Once this is resolved you will be truly happy." For nearly 30 years we have been looking for a piece of land on which to build our perfect eco-house. A few years ago, we bought a log cabin on Ebay (yes, really) which has sat in containers awaiting the perfect spot. The problem has always been finding that perfect spot, which had to feel like it was in the wilderness without actually being so; have a great view including a horizon, and most importantly have some form of watercourse - lake, pond or river - visible from the house. At the end of last year, we finally found the perfect spot which has all of the above, including a river running through it. It suddenly feels like it might just happen.
I had never met this man before, but what he said resonated with me in a most profound way. Perhaps wishful thinking, perhaps just the long-awaited hint of sunny weather. Whatever it may be, his brief presence in the shop has definitely given me a renewed optimism about the future.
- Mo MacLeod