Essay and Photo by Chuck Nafziger
Thirty five or so years ago, I went on a two month dive vacation in the Philippines. I got to go on many dives with local dive clubs. While in Ilo Ilo on the island of Panay, the dive club president, Susing Maribilia, told me that his favorite soothsayer would like to read my palm. The seer told me that if I lived past 40, I would become the richest man in the world, far richer than Aristotle Onasis, who was known for both his fabulous wealth and for marrying widow Jacqueline Kennedy. But the soothsayer said it was much more likely that I would die in a plane crash before I was 40.
A couple of days before I was 40, I was sitting in a bar thinking that my life was not going anywhere, and wealth did not seem to be in my future, so I went on a sight seeing flight in a float plane to give the prediction a chance. The sight seeing flight was uneventful: but so beautiful and fun that it became a once per year ritual for me and my family. I even got to fly with northwest aviation pioneer Lana Kurtzer on one of his last commercial flights, after he had had a major stroke, but before he quit flying. Still no crash.
About seven years ago, I was sitting around the table in my cabin with some Seattle friends, talking about how much happier I am here than when I was in Seattle, About how I thrive in this place with a big pond and old cedars all around. About how I felt I was really at home in these beautiful surroundings. The connection with nature had restored my soul.
One of my friends who knew the soothsayer story realized that the prediction had come true. To paraphrase John Muir, "I had become richer than the richest man. I have all I want and he does not." My definition of prosperity is "No greed, met needs, we dance!"