Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Garden Gnomes Beckon

by Gigi

Several years ago, I was traveling with a friend in Italy. While out walking one day, we came across this beautiful gate, beyond which we could see a number of stone garden gnomes standing within the greenery. (That's the gate in the photo at below.)

My friend and I looked at each other, and without a word we took the mysterious path beyond the gate.We knew those gnomes would lead us somewhere interesting.

Sure enough, after hiking along a hidden stream, what we encountered was one of the most beautiful gardens I've ever seen, filled with flowers and stone caves.

I remember the experience so well because it hadn't been planned. If it had been a tourist spot that we had planned on visiting, I doubt it would have made the same impression on me. 

I don't believe the garden is even really that beautiful. But because it was an unplanned adventure, it stuck with me. I don't remember where we were initially headed that day, but I remember that secret garden.

The reason I love unpredictable adventures in real life is the same reason I devour mystery novels. I want to be surprised. To be wowed. To think "ah, of course!" when I reach the end.

I love where I am in my life right now, but at the same time it's quite predictable. I rarely have adventures like that of the mysterious Italian garden gnomes these days. (Getting stranded due to the Icelandic ash cloud while on vacation last spring doesn't count--at least not until I've forgotten the details of our 40+ hour journey getting home.)

I'll take these adventures when they come along, but in the meantime I've got mysteries to provide my twists and turns. The set-up has to be done right, like those gnomes that beckoned to us, and then I'm along for the ride to see where the adventure takes me.

p.s. All right. You got me. My life isn't that predictable these days. I've got my first author reading coming up at noon on Saturday, June 4, at M is for Mystery in San Mateo, CA. I'll be joining other Sisters in Crime mystery authors--including Juliet Blackwell--and reading from my locked-room mystery short story that appears in Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology. If you're in the area I hope you'll stop by!


Juliet Blackwell said...

Can't wait to see your first official "author reading" in San Mateo! Woo-hoo!
And I love the secret garden story. I had a similar adventure back in high school, and I still remember it for precisely the same reasons, that it was unexpected and surprising. Here's to serendipity!

daisy said...

The wandering part of travel is usually the best, isn't it? In a way it makes me grateful for my terrible sense of direction, for the things I end up finding. (Of course, that's kind of counterbalanced by my tendency to consistantly end up in some sort of indutstrial area, which is rarely scenic. Even in Hong Kong. But anyway.) But what really matters is that those shoes are indeed awesome. Well birthdayed.

See you next Saturday!

Rachael Herron said...

Ah, this is lovely. And it made me miss Italy even more!

Mysti said...

Mmm, much nicer than my sole Italian adventure, being awakened every two hours by the conductor on the long long long long train ride to Brindisi, armpit of the universe. We should have hopped off at some random place :)

Anonymous said...

Man, you wander the way I wander. Now I'm craving another trip! Great post!

Gigi Pandian said...

Yes, the San Mateo SinC reading will be a blast! But I'm itching to get traveling again sometime soon. It really is the best when you have a travel companion who wanders the same way. Mysti -- you must try Italy again :)

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