A beautiful thing happened to me, but before I can tell that story I have to tell the first one, and both stories are true.
While stewing in my usual gloom in May of 1994 there was a knock on my door and the UPS man had a special delivery letter from the O’Neill telling me I was going. After leaping off the walls I called Annie and then Mom and went out for a walk. Not one block away on a stretch of sunny sidewalk a mocking bird flew out of a bush, buzzed my face, flew over my shoulder and then down to nip the back of my right hand.
I was made uneasy by this, for never before or since has a bird, much less a mocking bird, treated me such, and in the same hour that I had heard the best news in many a year. My next trip down the sidewalk I saw she had her nest in the bush. But the portent seemed all too clear. My fate would mock me. Indeed it did.
I went to the O’Neill and had the best play, something other playwrights and other people told me. Six plays from that year have now been produced, on Broadway, off-Broadway and in London, but not mine.
What I would have given if The Clan of the MacQuillins had gone exactly one week earlier, on a gala star studded night, a 30th anniversary celebration. I believe it would have been born and given life if done that night. But it didn’t happen that way and the mocking bird told me right at the top it wouldn’t. Next summer marks seven years.
This year a beautiful thing happened to me on a Sunday morning in the first week of October. It was the eve of Yom Kippur, an occasion my Father observed except he called it the Day of Atonement, a day of expiation for sin, observed in our family with prayer, study and traditional privations.
As I stood in my attic window in the room that was my office on a sunny day praying, the Hudson Valley autumn colored at my finger tips, a bald eagle soared up to my right from the North over my neighbor’s field. He soared one circle then crossed and in front of me to the West soared a second circle, and coming out of this flew towards me, passing above my right shoulder, his wings a bare few feet above the eave of my house, every feather in his wings precise, his beak and talons a hard corn gold.
I was amazed and spoke aloud to the Lord, thanking Him again for my life, joyous at the miracle of being alive, and at that moment the eagle returned soaring a third circle, his wings rigid and still and directly above me, while I at my open window a few feet below was at his center.
There are days I am filled with a serene confidence all will happen as it should.