I’ve said it before and I will most likely say it again, I meet the most amazing people in the little vintage shop where I work. Today was one of those days.
First, I must backtrack a bit and start with a coincidence of sorts that has happened to me over the last couple of days. I keep encountering authors. In the last two days, I have had discussions with four of them.
It’s not like my town is a hotspot for wordsmiths. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve been blind to the local literary culture up until now. I have though, begun to wonder why I’m attracting writers to me all of a sudden.
All of these authors would qualify as amazing people and all of them would be worthy of their very own blog post but it was a lady from Aruba of all places, that wins the right to have her story told.
She said call her Madi, although that is not her given name. Her real name, the one her father chose for her, is Juvencia. She said it means water of life and I can tell you, that there could not be a more perfect name for her. Juvencia’s energy and bright spirit flows from her like a rushing, life affirming river.
I told her I would honor her father and call her Juvencia. Her presence was too powerful for a simple name like Madi.
A petite woman with black, wiry hair and animated hands. She wore, of all things, a deer skin, fringed edge, tunic that would lead you to believe a north American, native heritage but it was her passionate personality that gave away her south American roots.
Right away she asked me if we had any butterfly jewelry. She went on to say that she liked to call herself a butterfly, as if I needed an explanation. Alas, no butterfly jewelry but that didn’t stop her from telling me her story.
When she said she was from Aruba, I had to ask why on earth would she want to be travelling in Canada in the winter. Didn’t she know that most Canadians would give their eye teeth to be sitting on a beach in Aruba at this time of the year?
That is when she told me that she started her trip in Massachusetts, where she experienced her very first white Christmas, and has been moving west ever since until finally making it all the way to Tofino on the west side of Vancouver island last week.
You see Juvencia has a tour guide business in Aruba – Madi’s Magical Tours. Be sure to call her up should you ever be in Aruba and be in need of a private tour guide. http://madimagicaltours.com/ Over the years she has befriended a network of people all over north America and managed to plan her cross country trip around meeting up with many of them.
That, in itself is an amazing story but it was when she told me that she intended to write a book about her adventure that my ears perked up. It was to be part travel adventures, part Aruban folklore, and part personal history. Although not a, as yet, published author, here was yet again another person talking to me about writing and books.
As with a great many of my customers, Juvencia, for whatever reason, felt she could share herself with me. In fact, as she was about to share a folk remedy of her grandmother’s, she stopped and said, “I never share this kind of stuff with anyone. People don’t really understand, but I know you will.” Her confession didn’t surprise me. I get that a lot.
Juvencia shared her personal history, she shared her cultural history and she shared her magical light with me. Throughout the conversation she continually used the term hurricane to describe the adventures she had experienced during this trip. What she really meant was that the past 3 months of travelling had felt like a whirlwind of changed plans, missed connections and unexpected distances. But we both agreed that these were the kind of elements needed for a really good story.
As for me, when I feel compelled to write about someone that I have met in the little vintage shop, it is because there is an instant, and extraordinary connection between us that transcends the norm. To me, in that moment of time, nothing else exists but the little bubble of sacred space that we have created. Just two souls who recognise a kindred spirit in the other.
Juvencia was one of those kindred spirits. She understood the connection as well and even though she freely admitted that she was guilty of talking too much, it was like she felt she had so much to say to me in a very little amount of time. Her friend was waiting for her outside the store.
As I was taking it all in, an epiphany hit me and I had to stop her and share. I ask Juvencia if she had ever heard of the butterfly effect. The theory that a butterfly beating its wings in south America could create a stir in the air that as it travelled, grew until it became a hurricane on the opposite side of the world. Laughingly I continued, “You call yourself a butterfly and you talk of hurricanes. Perhaps it is you that is creating the hurricanes that have surrounded your trip.”
Juvencia stopped dead in her tracks with the realisation of what I had just said. Her eyes went wide as saucers. Then I added, because I felt that perhaps, this was the reason our two paths were meant to cross, “The story that you need to write, needs to be about you, Juvencia. You are the reason for all this adventure.”
That is the thing about serendipitous meetings of kindred spirits, you never know who is meant to benefit from the interaction. Sometimes it’s one, sometimes both, and sometimes, the purpose is meant to be simply two souls rejoicing in a common bond.
Whether the message was aimed at me and was just part of the author/writer mystery that I have, as yet fully figured out, or Juvencia was meant to learn how butterflies, like herself can cause hurricanes, it does not really matter. What really mattered is that two kindred spirits came together and for a brief moment in time created magic as powerful as any natural force on earth.