Friday, July 29th, 2011

Writer’s Prompt – Missed Opportunities

Barred OwlI was driving into town this afternoon, Husband of Awesome™ at the wheel of the vehicle, when a huge bird swooped down low and fast across the front of the pickup and landed on a fence post.

“Pullover!” I yelled, reaching for the camera, thinking I would have a prime shot at a hawk.

I was even more elated to see it was Barred Owl (Strix varia). Who cares if it’s the most common owl in the US? How often do you see a crepuscular* animal in broad daylight? And sitting so calmly it appeared to want to have it’s picture taken?

To my utter disappointment, I’d forgotten the camera.

Missed opportunity.

Still, the bird sat waiting. We watched until another car drove by, scaring it from its perch.

I’ve been kicking myself all afternoon. What a great shot that would have been!

Here’s Your Prompt:

Write about a missed opportunity. If you’re writing memoir, this could be a personal experience. If you’re writing fiction, it could be about someone else’s personal experience, or completely made up.

What kind of opportunity was it? A new job? Travel? Love? A big fish? How meaningful to you is this lost thing? Something you’ve wanted all your life? Something that’s only recently made it onto your bucket list? Or was it simply a momentary deal?

How was the opportunity presented? Were you schmoozing at a party? In a meeting at work? Walking down the street? Set the scene to enhance the tension.

What were the stakes? Maybe the opportunity was missed because an alternative seemed better at the time…was their anxiety associated with this choice? Calmness? Logic? Maybe, the opportunity was complete serendipity.

Has a missed opportunity turned out to be for the better? Maybe you turned down your dream job to stay close to home, and the company folded six months later. Perhaps you declined a free week at the beach and Hurricane Agnes blew in for 10 days. Maybe turning down the offer of a lifetime saved your life.

How so?

* Crepuscular animals hunt only at dawn and dusk.

(I’ve been dying to use that word since I learned it. I did not miss this opportunity!)

I did, however, miss the opportunity with the bird. The photo above was taken by Frank Kovalchek from Anchorage, Alaska. See Mr. Kovalchek’s flicker stream for more great photos.