Our logical mind tells us that material things do not appear out of thin air, just when we need them the most. So, how can I explain the phenomenon of the free table at the RV Ranch?
The free table is in a common area, a breezeway between the laundry room and an indoor gathering area. If a person has something they no longer need, it is good form to leave it on the free table: one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Right? Besides, checking the table at least once during the day is a part of daily life at the ranch, and it feels good to contribute to the community ritual. I have left clothes, food, kitchenware, and books. I brought back Alice’s pricey clothes and shoes to leave out for others. I could have left them in Ohio rather than load up the Honda Civic and transport them 2000 miles, but I wanted them on the free table for fellow RVers to sort through. I learned something important in the process.
The free table has a mind of its own. Apparently, if you feed it often, it feeds you back. Again, that goes against logic; however, since loading it up with nice stuff, the free table has provided for me again in surprising ways. A beautiful quarter zip fleece top, the kind I sleep in all winter. I had been thinking that my trusty tops were getting worn after serving me for years during winter camping and RVing. On another occasion, two pairs of new, thick, cotton, hunter’s socks, another winter sleeping staple. Last week I was making a list of things I need to acquire for my summer in Alaska. On the top of the list: a heavy-duty rain slicker. I pictured myself standing on the deck of the Marine Highway ferry watching the majestic mountinas slide by while I am bundled up and dry in a yellow slicker. I did considerable research online, looking for sewing patterns and water-proof fabric. The project would be pricey and time-consuming, but my primary New Year’s Resolution was to sew and not buy ready-to-wear. I committed to the project, yet the next day a well-loved yellow, Columbia rain slicker appeared on the free table. It needed some seam repairs under the armpits and a good cleaning. Online research this time told me to clean it with a magic sponge, which worked wonders. Last year, a friend came running over to my rig with a pair of Gingher sewing shears in perfect condition (about $50 new). I just had them sharpenend, and they are awesome. Since we all browse the table, anyone else could have taken these items, but they waited for me, just like the things that I left waited for just the right person.
Coincidence? A secret life force? A portal to abundance? The free table certainly has the power to give, and now contributing to the shared resource feels like leaving an offering at the altar. To keep on the good side of the powers that be, I fed it mightily yesterday. I tend to accumulate plastic dishes and disposable kitchenware, which I purged from the cupboard and added to the table, along with extra food. A few hours later, I noticed with great satisfaction that it was all taken, if not consumed by the free-table gods. Maybe today something perfect will be waiting for me. If not, I can still reflect on how we truly can create abundance in our lives by giving first to others.