Yesterday, when I spilled the split peas before I’d even had my coffee, I thought it was going to be one of those days. Instead, it was one of THOSE days.
First I realized the kitchen floor needed a good sweep anyway.
Then I went out and saw a penny on the sidewalk. I’d done enough bending down with the spilled peas, and left it for somebody else to pick up. But on the next block when I saw a nickel on the sidewalk, that was different. Pennies may be good luck, but when I find a nickel it always seems like a wink from the universe.
I continued on. As I passed the subway entrance I saw a man tumble down the last couple of steps and land on his back. In that fraction of a second when I wondered if I should go down and help, a woman appeared and helped him up.
I continued on to the pet food store and found kitty grass was in stock. It’s only delivered every other week, and I never remember which is the ‘on’ week. What luck. Someone at home was going to be very pleased.
Then when I got home I found my ‘lucky pen.’ I’d been searching for it for days and thought it was gone forever.
Since this was turning out to be such a pleasant day, I thought I’d write down all these good things that were happening. When I had to go out again I took the list with me in case I found more to add.
This time I had to take the subway. As I was coming down the first flight of steps to the platform I heard a train coming in. I didn’t know if it was an F or a G. I wanted the G. The F train has twice as many cars and takes up the entire platform, but the G only stops in the middle, so I hurried down the second flight of steps in case it was a G. It was. So now I had to run to the middle of the platform. I ran fast enough to slip in before the doors closed. There was a seat. After I caught my breath I took out my list and wrote, ran fast enough to catch the train.
Later that evening I was carrying a bag of groceries. I wasn’t looking forward to the long walk up the hill but it was too cold to wait for the bus. Then a bus appeared. I had just enough time to dash across the street and fish out my metro card. I was too tired to take out my list to write, “caught the bus.” It was enough that I had.
Last night before I went to sleep I remembered the reason I liked finding nickels so much. They represent the number five, the balancing point between the one and the nine. (There is no ten in numerology.) Five is the median, the place between. I see it as the place between Above and Below, the balancing point between Heaven and Earth. And because I know how to count to five in French and Spanish, I knew five was cinq (sank) in one, and cinco (sink-o) in the other. In those languages just saying the word five is like saying sync. Five, that in-between place I know and love. I can’t be both on Earth and in Heaven at the same time, but when I’m in sync with the universe, it’s a little like heaven on earth.
Sync is a verb that means making things work together. (Wouldn’t that be Heaven on Earth?) It’s short for “synchronize,” which came into use in 1929 to describe linking sound and picture in the new “talkies.” The idea of being “in sync” with another person didn’t come about until 1961. (Ah, the Sixties…when we spoke of being simpatico…) Nowadays, we’re more likely to describe “synching” our personal electronic devices.
But whether it’s cinq, cinco or synched, whenever I find a nickel it always means more to me than five cents. (I remember being able to buy a whole candy bar for a nickel!) Even though I had to run for the bus and the train yesterday, I felt in sync. Even if it was only in my little corner of the world, that corner is part of the universe. On the back of the nickel it says, E PLURIBUS UNUM. “Out of many, one.” On the sidewalks of New York.