This line came from a character in a book, a foot soldier in one of the Crusades. He took a peek at his bad food, noticed the bread was full of weevils and snarfed it down anyway. He told the POV character, "All grist to this mill."
That's how I think of a lot of life experiences. I am working at a factory now and absolutely none of it relates to any of my previous experiences as a farmer's wife or newspaper reporter. But, I am doing some people watching. All grist to this mill. Maybe I can use some of it, some day. Who does my boss remind me of? How would I describe my co-w0rkers? Why is this place organized the way it is? How would I describe the sounds, the sights, the heat, the noise ... I pray for wisdom in my dealings with my co-workers. Probably need to pray more!
In the same way, I tried to gather details when we went to Warren Dunes Sunday. A strong weather front pushed through and stirred up 2- to 4-foot-waves. On Sunday the lake was every shade of blue and green -- the horizon was indigo but closer to shore the waves were turquoise and jade. One emotional impact came from seeing my 9-year-old, who hated swimming lessons and resented our making him suffer through them, turn into a suntanned little otter in Sponge Bob swim trunks as he played in the waves. Or the human comedy of a parade of people slogging through deep sand with all their gear. Or the drama of the rangers searching for a lost little boy and returning him to his parents, with a round of applause from surrounding beach-goers. Wow. Some answered prayers take only minutes.
Other experiences pile up: The sounds and scents of horseback riding; trying to walk across a plowed field; the feelings of sweat, blisters and splinters as we bale hay; the voices of children; boys' voices changing to manly voices; a daughter growing taller than me. All grist to this mill.
All grist to this mill. I don't know when I will use any of this in my writing, but I'm glad I have these experiences to draw on. Perhaps writing is one way for me to "save time in a bottle" as an old song says.