When I used to work in a medical research lab one of my co-workers described what we did as mastering the art of serendipitous phenomenology. I think that he meant that we (hoped to be) alert, observant, curious and reflective about events around us. Big discoveries can occur from chance observations if one pays attention; one of the famous ones is Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin. Another of my coworkers discovered an important immune system inhibitor (which led to a patent and eventually a drug. How cool is that?) Of course, there aren’t any big scientific discoveries in my life right now, but I have had a run of fun occurrences lately. It’s been making me think about serendipity, and that perhaps one of the secrets of finding joy in every day living is in mastering the art of serendipitous phenomenology.
So, here is my run of fun;
I was already contemplating serendipity when I arrived at my favorite local yarn store yesterday. I had a hazy notion that I wanted to get a cashmere blend yarn that would look nice with grey to make another Hitchhiker (by Martina Behm). Going through the sock yarns with a friend a skein suddenly fell out of its cubby and landed on the floor at my feet. “Well, there’s your yarn”, said my friend. There it was indeed! This yarn is 20% cashmere. The color is perfect for me and my new grey sweater. After going through all the yarn we could not find one that was a better fit.
Hey, who am I to argue with the universe? This yarn is clearly destined to become a Hitchhiker. The answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. Obviously I needed to buy this yarn.
See what I did there? Even though this yarn was expensive I was able to absolutely justify buying it with my smoking post-Christmas credit card.
And that is the Art of Serendipitous Phenomenology, my friends.