The squirrel who ate dried apricot mush
A few years ago, my sister gave me a pair of shoes that I have absolutely loved.
She passed them on, not because they were worn out, but because she is much more fashion conscious than I am, and she knew it was time for her to try something different.
Now those shoes are about beat into the ground. The insides are falling apart and the sole is peeling off at the toes and the heels, and still I love them.
Here’s one reason why:
Two summers ago, I wore those shoes when I went to pick apricots. So many apricots had already fallen off the tree that they created slippery mushy spots on the ground. When I went home, my shoes were too yucky to take inside the house, so I set them outside in the sun to dry.
And dry they did. I had a veritable layer of apricot fruit leather baked all around the edges of my shoes.
I wore those shoes to garden in, after that, and then one day I wore them on a trip into the mountains with my mother and my children. After our picnic, I started taking photos of the scenery. My girls started laughing and pointing at my feet just as I felt something tickle the side of my right foot.
I looked down and saw a squirrel, peeling the apricot leather off my shoes.
I was reminded of this tonight in a strange way. I spent the day at a local pumpkin patch selling books with other local authors, and I thoroughly enjoyed the autumn-harvest-festival feelings that pervaded the little fair. For a moment, I felt a little bit like the squirrel–afraid of people I think are bigger than I am when it comes to writing, but so hopeful for a delicious successful-writer experience that I was willing to sneak up upon it and nibble at it.
It turned out well. I learned SOOO much from one day behind a table, and I had the opportunity to strengthen friendships with other writers and meet groups and groups of other locals. I actually sold books. Friends from my own neighborhood drove all the way to the pumpkin walk to support me. The sun was bright and cheerful, but it never got too hot, even in the late afternoon.
Marketing is a lot easier for me when I have a support group around me like that. By the end of the day, all of us were promoting each other’s books. There was a real sense of community lining our two tables. Until I returned home, I didn’t even remember that no one new entered the #burgersandbooks giveaway this week.
Now it doesn’t even matter. I plan to keep promoting books and holding give-aways, but that’s because I like them. It’s not really dependent on anyone else.
So I guess I really do feel like that squirrel. I glean happiness wherever I can find it.
Even if it’s not something I planned for.
Even if it’s not easy to access.
Even if I have to get out of my comfort zone to do it.
Overall, it was a smiley, feel-good day. Better than old shoes and apricot leather, and I plan to keep sharing the joy.