When Annie Dillard was six growing up in Pittsburgh,
she used to take a precious penny and hide it for someone else to find.
She would cradle it at the roots of a sycamore or
in the hole left by a chipped out piece of sidewalk or some other hidden place.
Then, she would take a piece of chalk and draw huge arrows leading to it from either end of the block.
When she learned to write, little Annie would label the arrows:
SURPRISE AHEAD or TREASURE.
As she would draw the arrows,
she would be greatly excited at the thought of the look on the happy face of the lucky discoverer of her precious penny.
She would never lurk about waiting to see who it was.
It was enough just to know of the pleasure she was giving some lucky stranger.
And her imagination provided much more pleasure than the actual reality of seeing those faces I would suppose.
Life is like that
How many lonely people do we pass
that believe that they have drawn obvious arrows to the hidden treasure that they are?
Do they wonder why no one finds them?
Each person in our lives is a hidden penny ...
precious like Annie's penny, for they are all they possess of worth.
“All great and precious things are lonely.”
- John Steinbeck
Have You Ever Been
A Hidden Penny?