Otis and I were out for a walk one Sunday morning not long ago, and as we crossed a street, I spotted a penny in the road. Noting its presence but lacking interest in retrieving it, I passed it by and we continued on our course.
About half a block later, however, second thoughts began to gnaw at me - specifically that old wives' tale about seeing a penny, picking it up and all the day having good luck, with some following line I couldn't remember about the ills to befall those who let loose pennies lie.
So, being sufficiently decrepit already to fear any possibility of bad luck, we retraced our steps so I could pick up the penny -- and found it nowhere to be seen.
There had been no cars on the road, and no other people out and about. There was no way anybody else could have picked up that penny. Otis and I combed every corner of that section of the roadway, to no avail. No penny, nowhere.
Eventually I gave up and headed for home, watching my step very closely. I have an unfortunate history of tripping on the smallest of obstructions, and I wasn't about to let my failure to pick up a penny result in another broken bone followed by months of physical therapy.
It's been more than a week and so far, no bad luck I'm aware of. I have scolded myself for the arrogance of privilege that allows me to place such little value in a found penny that I can't be bothered to reach down and pick it up.
But the larger lesson takes me to the core of my goal to be more present in the moment. When the brass ring (or, in this case, the copper disk) presents itself, grab it. There may not be a second chance.