Illustrationsby John P. Weiss
I didn’t feel like going for another walk. We already enjoyed our morning expedition through the neighborhood, down to the rolling country club lawns. The boys like low shrubs, where they can sniff scents of visitors and collapse on the adjacent grass, rolling luxuriously on their backs with tongues dangling.
The dogs don’t care about my schedule. In the early afternoon, they began their campaign. They ambled into my studio and sat beside my chair, tails wagging. With lugubrious eyes and urgent (probably rehearsed) panting, they plead their case. It was time for another walk. I could resist their effort, but guilt and the ensuing distraction are never worth it. Sighing, I got their leashes and off we went.
Their joy is infectious. As soon as we embark on a walk, there is a spring in their steps. Their noses work overtime, picking up myriad scents that humans cannot detect. With tails wagging, it almost looks like smiles on their muzzles.
“To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring — it was peace.”- Milan Kundera
It never hurts to check things out
Along an expanse of lawn I dubbed “Grackle Hill” after the flock of birds that reside there, we spotted George and his two dogs. We met George a few months ago and often stop to visit along our route.
George knows I’m an artist and asked if I’d like to join him that weekend for a local art and craft show. I was hesitant. My wife works on the weekends and I use that time to immerse myself in creative work. Also, the snooty artist in me seldom finds appealing art pieces at local shows. Never the less, I agreed to George’s offer.
Later that weekend, on the way to the art show, I mentioned to George that I seldom find stuff that interests me at art and craft shows. I added that I’m somewhat of a minimalist, and don’t like clutter. “Well, it never hurts to go check things out,” George offered.
We arrived at the show and meandered around the tents and vendors. As expected, nothing jumped out at me, but it was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, there was a slight breeze, and the park lawns and trees were a nice contrast to the desert landscape of Southern Nevada.
We rounded part of the outdoor food court and happened upon a large display booth. People were congregating around it and I was curious. Soon, I was able to see inside and immediately got excited. There were numerous old typewriters that had been retrofitted into beautiful, functioning table lamps and lighting fixtures.
Being a writer with a few old typewriters in my home, I was smitten. There were other amazing lighting creations, like sewing machines and musical instruments. My friend George just smiled and said, “You see, you never know what you’ll find.”
“Sometimes life drops blessings in your lap without your lifting a finger. Serendipity, they call it.” — Charlton Heston
I met the artist, Eric Leins, who was very helpful and showed me various typewriter lights and how he created them. His business is called Epic Artware, and he’s based in Las Vegas. I sent some photos to my wife (who loved Eric’s work) and I bought two typewriter lamps.
The larger typewriter lamp resides in our living room, and the smaller black one is in my art studio. There’s something about old analog devices, reconstructed into home decor, that I admire and appreciate.
The new typewriter lamp in my studio sits across the bookcase from an old typewriter my wife found years ago, that accompanies two original Jeremy Mann paintings (refer below photo). I think the minimalist Marie Kondo would approve of my studio typewriters because they bring me tremendous joy.
George didn’t find anything he wanted at the art and craft show (except a couple of bundt cakes), but he was kind enough to help carry the typewriter lamps back to his car. He said, “If you had told me you’d be buying typewriter lamps at the show today, I never would have believed you!” We both laughed, especially since I’m the self-professed minimalist!
Diligence is the mother of good fortune
Had it not been for insistent dogs and their diligent walking schedule, I would have missed out on seeing George and attending the weekend art and craft show. Maybe dogs know things we don’t? Through their diligence and adherence to a regular walking schedule, good things happened.
“Diligence is the mother of good fortune, and idleness, its opposite, never brought a man to the goal of any of his best wishes.” — Miguel de Cervantes
According to Wikipedia:
“Diligence is one of the seven heavenly virtues. Diligent behavior is indicative of a work ethic; a belief that work is good in itself.”
Diligence can be defined as a persevering, paintstaking effort. It involves attention and persistence in anything you do.
Thanks to my dogs, our diligent practice of daily walks often brings us good fortune. It’s how we met George. It’s also how we find beautiful, discarded bird nests that my wife displays in glass containers.
Out of your comfort zone
I tend to be a little reclusive. I require alone time to read, think, write, and create my artwork. Even on dog walks, my instinct is to avoid others. However, I resist this loner tendency, because I learn new things when I interact with others. Taking the time to meet George, and accept his offer to visit the art and craft show, was enjoyable and fruitful.
How about you? How diligent are you with getting out of your comfort zone? How persistent are you with meeting new people and trying new things? Do you avoid meeting people and experiencing new events?
We’re all busy and sometimes need to guard our limited free time. But once in a while, take a risk and strike up a conversation with someone new. Be diligent in trying new things. Listen to your dogs, they seem to know what we need more than we do.
This is why diligence is the mother of good fortune. You never know who you’ll meet, where you might go together, what you might accomplish, or what blessings will drop in your lap. The experience is often worth it and can enrich your life in unexpected ways.
(Adapted from and originally published at https://johnpweiss.com.)