My last runaway was to Twin Mountain, NH, in November 2019, to work on my MFA Fiction thesis. That weekend, I brought along the book, When God Winks: How the Power of Coincidence Guides Your Life, by Squire D. Rushnell, which I read in the mornings to start my day.
I’ll share an experience from that weekend about Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon. Both were NH Poet Laureates in the ‘90s, married to each other. I was with my son in a bookstore in Littleton when I found a book of poetry by Donald Hall. I already owned several of his books, so what I really wanted was a Jane Kenyon collection. I asked the woman at the counter for help. She looked up Jane Kenyon but found nothing.
Soon after, my son and I wandered into a thrift shop. Among the many clothes, I found a large bookcase filled with titles. I sifted through shelf-by-shelf looking for Jane Kenyon. Of course, she wasn’t there. The probability was so low that I’d find the exact book I wanted, especially since most of the books were bestselling romances or were written by NH’s famed authors such as Dan Brown, Jodi Picoult, and Tomie dePaola. An obscure book of poetry? Of course not.
I turned to leave. Right there, behind my back the whole time, was another stack of books. On the top was Jane Kenyon’s collection, “Otherwise”, the collection with my favorite poem of hers, also called “Otherwise”. I opened the cover. $1.00 was written in pencil. One dollar. For the book I had no hope of finding.
And God winks.