I am no longer surprised by outlandish serendipity or extremely unlikely fortuity; in fact, I expect it, rely on it, and look for it every day, and it is always nearby. Still that doesn’t stop me from being intrigued and excited when I see it unfold. Some day I think it will all make sense.
Pauline’s lucky number is 8, and mine is 3. I know. I am supposed to be a scientist, and scientists are not supposed to be suspicious. This isn’t really suspicion; it is experimental physics, things I observe and make note of. Eventually, it will lead to a theory. I know I am in store for something special when these numbers start showing up; I really have no idea why. Such was the case in June, 2009 when we had made plans to visit Suffolk, England, or as some call it, Constable Country, the region where John Constable, the greatest landscape painter of all times spent most of his life.
We arrived in the small town of Dedham, where Constable attended school, and where his father owned the local mill. I felt a special welcome when the attendant at Dedham Hall handed us the key to room C12 (1+2=3, and C is the 3rd letter). I knew I was in harmony with the universe, and this was fortified as additional 3’s and 8’s began to appear during the day.
Constable was born in 1776 (1+7+7+6=21, and 2+1=3), the year the USA gained independence from England. Upon visiting Dedham Church, I stood in the church doorway and admired Constable’s painting “Resurrection of Christ”, and glancing at a plaque on the doorway, it read “This door was completed and installed in 1492”, the year Columbus discovered America.
So far these are not all earthshaking coincidences; stay with me. Over the next few days we walked in Constable’s footsteps over the Dedham Vale and along the River Stour. After walking to Flatford’s Mill (a 3 mile round trip walk), I found a bench in the same location that Constable had painted “The Haywain”, one of the most famous landscape paintings ever created, so I sat for a few hours and painted Willy Lott’s cottage which is in the background of The Haywain. (Constable worked on his painting for several years.) Three days later, back in our Bedfordshire home I was writing about my experience and decided to take a tea break. I checked the TV to see if the news was on and instantly tuned to a special on Constable Country, which was just starting; I watched it and learned a few new facts that would enhance my own writeup.
Two days later Pauline and I visited the National Gallery to see “The Haywain” and other Constable paintings. On the way to the National Gallery, we passed the National Portrait Gallery, which is just behind the National Gallery. A poster at the gate announced a special show, “Constable’s Portraits and the Inner Circle”, which was on its last day. I learned long ago, never turn down these gifts of the universe so we attended that show in addition to visiting the Constable room in the National Gallery. By the time I walked up to The Haywain I was exploding with energy and was blown away even more upon seeing this amazing piece of work.
I figured John himself was inadvertently communicating with me from some far away dimension. An apparently he was. On the following day, while browsing through the watercolour CD’s in the Bedfordshire library, one caught my eye because the word “Advanced” was stamped on the cover. Watercolor CD’s more commonly contain words like “simple, made easy, beginner, quick, etc”, and rarely anything like “advanced” that might scare the reader away. Because it stood out, I rented it, without any ideas of its contents. Upon returning home, I shoved the CD into a player and relaxed with lunch on the couch. To my delight the major section of the CD was titled “Constable Country”, allowing me to revisit Dedham Vale and Flatford Mill.
I had recently received considerable criticism over my technique of painting trees. To my further delight the main emphasis of the CD was painting trees, including a full glossary of trees with demonstrations on painting each one. By this time I figured that John himself, wherever he is, had decided to give me a few individual lessons, and I really appreciated his gift. I hope he hangs around long enough for some of his skills to rub off.