By: judithdisalvo | August 17, 2017

Yesterday I heard one of my favorite songs, "Wide Open Spaces" by the Dixie Chicks, and the lyrics brought tears to my eyes. For real. I need wide open spaces, room to make mistakes (I like to call them learning experiences or adventures) and new faces. These are the main ingredients that spur me to write. Wyoming provided me the space, landscape, quirky characters and crazy escapades to write First Rodeo. I really miss it, thus the tears while driving down Highway 94 on my way to my girl cave, the cottage where I write in Augusta, Missouri.

I was also crying because I’ve been struggling to get back into a writing groove. After battling some serious health issues, I prayed the upcoming Solar Eclipse would send me some cosmic creative inspiration. If this phenomenon couldn’t get the fingers moving across the keyboard, I feared I was in big trouble.

Miraculously, this morning, the universe sent me a gift. It knocked on my dormant brain and gave me a wake up call, rudely before my morning caffeine. I’d like to think that’s where the moral of this story starts and ends but I know better. I got out of bed, put a leash on my pup, laced up my tennis shoes and headed out the door. I was outfitted in my camo PJs, black tank top, no bra, a very old orange fleece to cover my arms from the sun and a bizarre grass green straw hat. Not exactly a glamour moment but I was only going around the block. There is zero likelihood of a car passing by, much less a human being to spot me in this embarrassing getup. It’s my routine when I’m trying to write and it usually works for me. What can I say?

I purposely leave my cell at home for these short excursions. It is my few minutes of staying unplugged before I start my day. So, you can imagine my shock and panic when I got back to my cottage to find the door locked. Yep – locked out, in my PJs and no cell phone. I have 3 hide-a-keys and every single one of them was inside the house along with my car keys. As predicted, nary a neighbor in sight, and the town is deserted. I think about walking to one of the nearby wineries but the dog is clearly not up for that. She is standing firm at the front door wanting to go inside for breakfast and jump back into the bed. And I’m supposed to be in bed with her writing! I break into a sweat.

A lone dark sedan comes cruising down the street. As it approaches, the window rolls down and a familiar voice calls out, “Hi there!” My heart stops racing. I am so relieved to see a grinning Kim Alsup (an amazing artist and old friend). It’s been forever since I’ve seen her. She stops in the middle of the street and gets out of her car. We laugh and hug. She’s in similar garb (also bra-less; so much more comfortable) just returning from an errand and going home for a quick shower and off to paint. She’s running late, but willing to be even later by helping me out. It starts raining. But of course.

Short story made longer – I call my husband on Kim’s phone and he calls a painter who just happens to be working back at our farm eight miles down the road. The plan is that the painter will come pick me and my dog up. He fears his truck will be scary but I tell him I could care less. Really?

I have at least a half hour to sit outside in the heat, in my pajamas to contemplate “what is the universe trying to tell me” and I come up with nada. I mean really, “coffee—don’t leave home without it” doesn’t seem all that significant. Nor does “dress for success even when you’re only walking your dog in a sleepy little town where no one cares what the heck you look like.” The cell phone did pop up as a possibility—safety first—maybe I do need to have that with me at all times, though I hate the idea of being tethered to technology. Now the sun comes out and it’s humid. I’m thankful that I wore my hat.

And I’m extremely grateful for Anthony the painter who picks us up in my husband’s old Jeep. I must admit I was sort of looking forward to riding in his truck but maybe it would have been a distraction. I’ve never had a real conversation with him and he’s worked for my husband for over a decade. He’s also 44 and I figured him to be maybe late 20’s. By the time we get back to our farm and get my other extra key to my cottage/office I’m laughing and smiling and thinking “what an adventure I am having today.”

And I didn’t have to go all the way to Wyoming; it happened right in my own front yard, literally.

I had some space and time, saw some old faces that might as well have been new, and a tiny entertaining tale evolved. I feel energized, excited, and the reset button on the right side of the brain has clicked! There is always a story, an adventure and what is so beautiful is that we are all present, here on this earth to love and help one another. Anything is possible and I’m sure we will all be reminded of this on Monday August 21st as we witness a once-in-a-lifetime event right here in our own small community—the total Eclipse of the Sun!

Happy viewing wherever you are and be sure to wear something other than PJs—or don’t—but definitely wear protective glasses! Love and light to all.Judith Hennessey, Aug 2017