folklore


I’ve been doing research reading on fairies the last couple of weeks for the current WIP. I admit that watching Hellier Season 2 (now available, along with season 1, for free on YouTube and hellier.tv) has inspired me even more, although this post is only tangentially about Hellier. What I say below, certainly, can’t be applied to the Hellier experience, but I can’t help seeing parallels between Faery and aliens. I am far from the first to see these parallels. My first exposure to this idea was in Passport to Magonia by Jacques Vallee back in the 70s. Hellier moves in the same dreamlike terrain, weaving through the twilight world of UFO contactees, abductees, and experiencers, as well as many other strange and wonderful things.

In folklore, things with the fairies (a term you can take throughout this post to apply equally to aliens, goblins, and trickster characters of your choice) can be both true and untrue simultaneously. They can be the human dead, and not the human dead; of this world and not; sinister and friendly. The bodies of humans can remain where they are—in trance or dreams or a death-like state—and their souls can still be off traveling with the fae.

Which, if you think about it, adds a whole ‘nother dimension to the true/not true stories of alien contactees: both the current crop of “alien abductees,” I believe, and the old-fashioned contactee stories of people like Woodrow Derenberger (he of Mothman/Indrid Cold fame) and George Adamski (who claimed to have flown to the Moon and other planets with Nordic aliens). When you combine that true/untrue with the notion held in folklore that fairies often favor humans who transgress human laws and play fast and loose with human truth, it brings even deeper dimension to these accounts.

However, there are two things that the fairies of folklore will not tolerate: people who lie to them, and those who tell too many of their secrets. So a mortal may find great favor with them—may even, one supposes fly with them to Lanulos or the Moon or be shown great secrets and marvels—but the second they transgress those fairy rules, they will be punished. Perhaps the golden medals they received will turn to cheap tin knock-offs; perhaps their lives will become a horrorshow of hounding by the press or (maybe even worse) true believers; perhaps every transgression or tall tale or prejudice or human fallacy will be laid bare before the public and ridiculed. Whom the fairies elevate, they can also cast down without mercy.

Which may explain why so many of these contactees become labeled as hoaxers and con men and end badly. They get so caught up in their stories that they can’t resist spinning them out and out and out into the world, and they forget the basic nature of these experiences and of Faery: that they are the truth that is a lie and lies that are true. Only walking the middle path leads to any chance of survival. And it’s so damned easy to wander off the path.

Because I have an abiding love for folklore and all things odd, because I create art out of the liminal aspects of the world in which we live, I can’t very well be in the business of passing judgment on stories of the strange. Folklore is a living, breathing thing, a constant new creation from the imaginations and the deep psyche. So if someone tells me a story of a personal encounter with fairies, or about the ghost they saw, or the strange lights in the sky, I treasure these stories as a peek into the spontaneous eruption of spirit and imagination in the world. As long as human beings roam the earth, new beliefs and tales of the marvelous will erupt from the aether. This is the wellspring of creativity, the fundamental food of imagination.

By necessity, this food is always going to come at us from the fringes of society. It will never be found in the dead heart of academia because by its very nature it is the antithesis of academia. Academia is about cataloguing and studying that which is; folklore and the folk imagination is about creating new from old and old from new, and it is a rich source of spiritual replenishment. Academia has many important functions and I demand that it stay rigorous because we need the rigorous walking hand in hand with the fanciful. Both functions make society cohere.

I don’t buy into everything with one hundred percent credulity. Healthy skepticism is a necessary function of living in both complex societies and less complex. I grow impatient, however, with those who have taken up skepticism as a replacement for religious belief. Their skepticism is as sweeping and dogmatic as ever any organized religion. Theirs is an unhealthy skepticism. The marginal, the liminal, the odd, and the fanciful enrich the world. The more skeptics try to suppress it, the more creative ways the underworld finds to rise to the surface. One of the best analyses of the liminal I have ever seen is The Trickster and the Paranormal by George Hansen. Mr. Hansen uses exhaustive detail and thorough analysis to show why it will never be possible the suppress this underworld.

Yes, we all know about the excesses that beliefs of any kind are prone to, the persecutions that arise from the bonfires of unquestioning faith. That is not what I’m supporting here, what I’m cherishing, because that is not about the spirit. That is dogma—and I do judge dogma. If academia is the antithesis of the creative upwellings of the psyche, dogma is the antithesis of the spiritual. The silly stuff, the stuff that stretches credulity is as necessary to the health of any society as skepticism; it is the breath inside the lungs of culture. The danger comes from the other side of society’s fringe, the extremes of belief, the codifying of the spirit, the hardening of the arteries of fancy.

Judge not lest ye be judged. Judgment, sorting out the good from the chaff is healthy; judgment, the trumpeting of one belief system over another, is a form of societal death. I open my arms to extreme possibility, not to the extremes of judgment.

As of today, I have been retired one year.

It was the best decision I ever made, although it was actually my body that made the decision. It had been rebelling against me for some time—arthritis caught up to me much earlier than it does to most—and it had become increasingly difficult physically get in to work and do my job. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to retire, it would just have been better for me financially if I could have waited longer. But it wasn’t in the cards.

As it turned out, as things often do with the Universe, what I thought of as a negative turned into a positive. If I hadn’t retired when I did, in the month following my actual retirement date a large portion of my funding would have dried up and I would have been scrambling, with diminishing energy, to find new funding. Not only that, my colleagues who have continued to work at my former place of employment have seen changes that have left them deeply distressed. Everyone I’ve spoken to has told me I got out just in time.

I had thought to accomplish more in the year passed. But in reckoning up the score I realize I have accomplished quite a lot. It’s just that most of it has been internal. I am not the same person I was one year ago, and the changes have been mostly positive. Oh sure, there are things that could be better, and in some ways I’ve backslid, but this has been a year of finding myself, of redefining myself. I’ve spoken of this before: I never knew retirement would be so much like adolescence.

So here I am again at the time of the Autumn Equinox, seeking balance and rectification and redefinition. But none of that scares me particularly. It’s part of the ongoing journey, a lifelong process. In the fairy stories, journeys and geas and curses and whatnot always last a year and a day. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? But I’m good to go.

Last night I re-watched My Dinner with Andre for the first time in a very long time. At least 20 years, maybe longer. I’ve seen it many times. There was a time when my friend and I would go to see it every time it played at the Nuart cinema in West L.A., an “art house” theater which still exists (though it’s part of the Landmark chain now). Every time I saw Andre I felt as if the conversation had somehow magically changed, that new things, new concepts had been added. My sympathy would swing back and forth between the two people talking, I’d laugh at one and then the other, cry with one and then the other. The ending always made me appreciate the mystery and the wonder of life, from the ordinary details of a cold cup of coffee, to the mystical wonders of Findhorn, to living life consciously, and living life in a dream. And it still works. It still works.

In some ways it works better in today’s society than it did in 1981. The themes of living consciously rather than floating along; the themes of how distracted we all are and how difficult that makes it to live meaningfully.

“A baby holds your hand and then suddenly there’s this huge man lifting you off the ground. And then he’s gone. Where’s that son?”

*

And speaking of watching, I just finished season 3 of The Detectorists. What a lovely, lovely show. Low key, gentle humor, sweet spirit. One of my very favorites.

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Mom and her starling, Baby:

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Butterflies are such beautiful creatures. Which is why I can’t understand the urge to collect them, kill them, and use them as art objects, preventing them from living out their life cycle and reproducing so that we will continue to have beautiful butterflies.

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My mother grew up right in the middle of Uintah Co., UT, a place well known in paranormal circles and home to the infamous Skinwalker Ranch. It was a little farming community called Willow Creek, not to be confused with the current day town of Willow Creek which is some ways northwest of where Mom grew up. Mom’s community doesn’t exist any more, as it became part of the Ute reservation. I had to locate the Creek it was named after to get an approximate location on Google maps (below).

I’ve often wondered if Mom’s nervousness regarding “weird shit,” as she called it, was because she grew up in a place where it was common.

Having said that, one of the shows she really liked to watch in the last years of her life was Finding Bigfoot. It was one of the few “weird” shows she could tolerate. Every time we’d watch she’d be fascinated and almost every single time she’d say afterwards, “There has to be something to this.” Not sure why she found it so convincing. But maybe Uintah County had something to do with it.

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Speaking of weird (as I do so love to), I was reading a thread on Twitter about the superstitions of health care workers. One of the most frequently mentioned was that health care workers would open a door or a window when someone died so the soul could find its way outside. (This is a very old folkloric belief.) While reading this I remembered that when my mother, who was in hospice here at home, passed away, the very lovely hospice nurse (a lady from Africa—and I’m sorry, sweet nurse, I no longer remember which country you said) took care of business and then went to open the front door.

I don’t think I even asked her why (I was in grief shock) but there must have been something in my expression because she hurried to say, “That’s so the funeral home knows what house it is.” I accepted it at the time but in retrospect, that makes no sense at all. It makes more sense after reading that thread on Twitter.

*

It’s so difficult to overcome the “I want I want I want” mentality so many of us have been raised with in this society and replace it with the “We are we are we are” mentality. But necessary deprogramming.

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I’m a rather half-assed pagan. I do witchy things but I respect and honor witches too much to call myself one unless I feel I’ve earned it. I think I’m on a parallel but different path, anyway. I have a kind of spiritual practice that I’m getting back in touch with after many years of distraction and tamping it down to deal with this world. Any spiritual practice that’s worth its salt, I think, has to deal with both the mystical and the mundane or it’s just escapism. (Yes, I know, some would say all spiritual practice is escapism, but that’s their problem. I have no patience with them.)

In recent times, I have meditated and put out calls of—how to phrase it? Belonging? Certain deities respond and when they do I honor them on my mantelpiece. Others are just “the spirit of the rock” or “the spirit of the tree.” I am sure there is a spirit of the house, this house, but it’s unnamed. My mother, as I’ve mentioned, was not comfortable with discussion of anything spiritual. But I think she had some talents. She said the first time she walked into this house it opened its arms to her and said welcome. And I still feel that.

Everyone on the mantelpiece seems okay with everyone else, but I always ask before I place a representation there if everyone welcomes the addition. On rare occasions they say no and I honor that, but most times they’re accepting. And not just spiritual things go on the mantle. It’s a kind of cornucopia of silly and sacred and artwork, but it seems to work for everybody.

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What’s something about myself that I once wanted to change to fit in but am now happy with? My weirdness. I never saw things the way most people did. I now realize that’s not my affliction but my treasure.

*

“It’s not a swastika it’s some kind of Tibetan symbol,” said the guy in the Nazi war helmet when asked why he put a concrete swastika in his front yard. “I don’t think he’s a Neo-Nazi,” said his neighbor, adding sheepishly, “But he may be racist.” #TalesFromTheLocalNews

Hellier, the Planet Weird original YouTube series: Mothman Prophecies meets Deliverance meets Carl Jung meets Finding Bigfoot. This is more of a philosophical paranormal series so if you’re looking for the brainless demon chasing of Ghost Adventures, this will not be the show for you.

I liked it, binged it yesterday. I started watching in broad daylight, just to be safe and to make sure I could sleep comfortably. (Huh.) There definitely were some creepy parts, but this is more a show about curiosity and exploration of the subterranean realms of the human psyche and the world-beneath-the-skin of this world. And synchronicity. A whole lotta synchronicity. (I watched the last two episodes in full dark and my sleep cycle was not disturbed.)

If you’ve ever been caught up in a synchronicity storm, as explored in this show, you’ll find Hellier more credible. Even if you haven’t, it’s a fascinating piece of filmmaking. Despite my casual linkage above to other things, it’s also a unique piece of filmmaking, as passion projects often are.

So, if you’re in the mood for something to expand your mind and your horizons rather than the idiotic pap of most paranormal shows, you might like Hellier.

I was once close friends with a paranormal researcher. I never went on any of his investigations with him—mostly because he lived 2,000 miles away—but he would discuss his cases in detail with me. I was a sympathetic and avid ear, frankly. Much younger and with my youthful sense of invulnerability still flapping around the edges of my psyche, I took a deep dive into the subject. Then weird synchronous shit began happening to me. Nothing as weird as the things that happened to him, nothing horrifically spooky, just fricking weird. But as I wasn’t even directly involved in his cases, it did rather freak me out.

“Oh yeah, that kind of thing goes on all the time,” he said. “It’s mostly harmless if you don’t give it energy.”

Which was not reassuring. It harkened back to something a witchy woman said to me when I was thirteen and another batch of synchronous shit started happening to me. “It can’t hurt you if you don’t let it.” I backed away from it then, shut it down with extreme prejudice, and the things stopped happening.

When it happened again in conjunction with my friend, I told it very firmly to go away and leave me alone, and it did. I’m sorry, I am not profoundly courageous when it comes to these things. I prefer to channel it into art, if you must know. Art is a buffer zone between the realm of the trickster—where this stuff stops and ends, in my opinion—and about as much as I can handle, in those days and in these.

Weird things continued to happen to me, but rarely with the sense of something focusing on me that happens in the middle of a synchronicity storm. That attention is what keeps me from sleeping at night. I continued to be friends with my paranormal researcher for some time after that, but eventually we drifted apart for reasons that had nothing to do with synchronicity or paranormal research or the trickster. (Or did they?) I still think fondly of him and those discussions because it expanded my mind and my psychic horizons.

Even if I was too much of a wimp to fully commit. I’m happy with my decision. And, really, I think “it” is, too.

I was reading an article in the September 2018 issue of Fortean Times (FT370) called “Strange Stories from Southport”—a seaside town in Merseyside, roughly 20 miles north of Liverpool. Most of the stories in this article dealt with sightings of the Old Man of Halsall Moss—an old, possibly drunken, man in antique farmers clothes who is often seen staggering beside the road by passing motorists only to suddenly disappear.

Other people traveling the solitary places around Southport have had timeslips or momentarily driven through a changed landscape. One mother and son experienced a nighttime landscape beneath a crescent moon showering luminous arcs of light down upon the open fields. The streetlights on either side of the road echoed these luminous arcs, as did the headlights of the cars coming from the opposite direction. They passed a car with two ladies inside but when the mother looked in the rearview mirror, the car had completely disappeared, although there was no turn off anywhere nearby. When they returned home by this same road about three hours later, there were no arcs of light and, furthermore, they realized that the streetlights weren’t on either side of the road as they had originally perceived them, but went straight down the middle. They also realized that the crescent moon arcing light had been to the north of them instead of traveling its usual east to west.

Stories like this are a great comfort to me because I’ve had my own impossible sightings, when a mundane trip down a familiar road can turn suddenly…other. Even though I’m certain of what I saw and was fully awake in broad daylight, knowing that you have experienced something you just could not have experienced is deeply unsettling. You gnaw on it for the rest of your life, you return to it again and again, asking yourself how it could have been. And not infrequently, you (I) question your (my) sanity.

But when I read about other normal people seeing scrambled realities I can tell myself that sometimes weird stuff just happens.

Some time back my friends and I were having interesting discussions about timeslips and other warps in reality, sharing personal experiences of our own and of our friends. The next day I received the (then) latest Fortean Times (February 2017, FT 350) which had an article by Jenny Randles (“Timelessness”) on “time travel, close encounters and other ripples in reality.” Being the good Jungian that I am, I recognized a synchronicity and started working on a post—which, alas, got buried by busyness in other areas.

My friend, L. (I have four friends with the first initial of L), told me of a strange encounter she and her then-boyfriend had when camping at a remote site in the Santa Rosa Mountains of California. As they drove along the lonely highway, they came up behind an old jalopy of a truck going slowly up the mountain. It was loaded with people riding in its bed and even though they spent considerable time behind the truck because the road was too narrow for safe passing, the only person in the vehicle who acknowledged their presence was an old guy who stared and laughed and grinned in a kooky kind of way that L. found quite unnerving.

The truck continued up the mountainside, but eventually L. and her boyfriend turned off at the campground. Their car was the only one in the small parking lot in the middle of nowhere. They unloaded their gear and hiked into the remote campsite. When they got there, two women sat on one of the campground picnic tables looking at a fire on a distant range. They didn’t seem unfriendly. They smiled and said something neither L. nor her boyfriend could understand and pointed to the smoke they were watching. Again, L. felt unnerved, but she put it down to having read too much Casteneda. She and her boyfriend hiked into the woods to set up camp but when they next looked at the picnic table, the women were gone. As the night progressed, a feeling of oppression overcame L., like something wanted them gone. She felt as if she was being closed in upon, watched. L. turned to her boyfriend and said, “I think we should leave. Now.” “I think you’re right,” he said. He’d been feeling the same thing. It was the middle of the night, but they packed up in a hurry and left.

Ms. Randles speaks of the “Oz factor” often preceding odd experiences, wherein, for example, a busy road or room suddenly becomes profoundly quiet as the state of consciousness of the percipient changes. Simon Young, writing in FT362 (January 2018—“Introducing the Fairy Census 2014-2017”) says that there are a significant number of these experiences “while people are driving or travelling in a car” or stopped at lay-bys. He also speaks of a profound silence often accompanying this otherness.

In the case of a friend of a friend (another L.), when he was a teen, he was traveling down Roosevelt Boulevard in St. Petersburg, Florida in a car driven by his mother. The road was surrounded by fields and palm scrub, and as he gazed out the window, he was no longer in the car, which had completely disappeared. He was riding a horse and felt certain that he was an Indian. This went on for several minutes before he returned just as suddenly to the car.

Many years later, he decided to teach himself how to drive a stick shift so he borrowed his wife’s car and headed for this selfsame Roosevelt Boulevard because he knew he could drive to the end of it without getting in the way of too many other drivers. The boulevard dead-ended at some piney woods, so he headed in that direction. By the time he got there, it was dark and he came upon a stop sign that he didn’t remember ever seeing before. Not only that, instead of piney woods, the boulevard ended at a T-intersection. He also didn’t remember a road crossing there before, but as it was dark and he was uncertain where it led, he elected to turn around to go back the way he’d come rather than exploring the road. But he was curious, so he drove back the next day in the daylight. There was no stop sign and no road. He and his wife found an old map of the area and on that map, the road he had seen that night clearly appeared. They looked into it and discovered that the road had been created to service a housing development that had never come to pass because of environmental concerns. Even more curious, although the map had shown the road in anticipation of the housing development being built, the road had never actually been constructed. He’s very glad he decided not to drive down that road.

But it’s not just friends and friends of friends…

In December 1992, I gathered some of my loved ones together for our annual Christmas dinner. In the middle of the festivities when everyone was telling stories and laughing, my world came to a standstill. I’ve tried to describe this sensation before and that’s as close as I can come. I was sitting in that room, but outside of it, too. I saw everyone talking, but couldn’t hear them anymore. Inside of me everything had gone completely still, the kind of silence and stillness I’ve never felt before or since. I heard a voice. My impression is that it was deep, but I can’t be sure anymore and I can’t be certain whether it was male or female, but it was a voice of great conviction. It said, “This is the last Christmas you will all spend together like this.” With those words came the utter conviction that one of us would die before the next Christmas. I didn’t know who, but I suspected it was one of my parents. Then it was like the bubble burst and I was back in the room just as before, only trying hard to pretend nothing had happened, to deny what had happened. I told no one about this experience lest they think I was crazy. October rolled around and no one had died so I began to think it was ridiculous. So I finally told someone, my oldest friend, L., and we had a good laugh over my lunacy. Two days later, my father collapsed with an aortal aneurysm and passed away.

For oh so many reasons, my world was never the same after that. As Ms. Randles says, “we scramble to make sense of the scattered fragments of reality and reconstruct the world in a linear way.” It took some work to reconstruct things, but I never returned—didn’t want to return—to the same old linear narrative I’d been living. As Emily Dickinson once said, “Tell the truth, but tell it slant.” She was speaking of the artifice of art, but for me it means that the truth of reality is slant. Or as Simon Young says, “…an inconvenient fact slapping you hard in the face: reality is not as you thought.” Unless we live on the north or south poles, all of us are walking sideways on a globe, held there by gravity. But our brains can’t deal with this version of reality, so we create a level and flat plain, a straight-on world that doesn’t exist. I see the Other as something similar, something that exists alongside us, that we catch momentary glimpses of before our brains wrench us back into our more comfortable time and space.

I have also had my own “seeing things I couldn’t have seen while driving” experience. You can read about it here. (Note: I’ve just realized, looking back at that old post, that it happened the year my mother had her stroke and everything changed utterly for me. Not only that, I wrote the post no more than a week or two before my mother’s stroke.)

As Simon Young notes, “there have been several large-scale population-wide surveys of supernatural and psychic experiences over the past 120 years.” These have shown that as many as a quarter of the population have had these kinds of significant experiences, the kind that “the rest of the population would rather not think about.”

As much as twenty-five percent of the population is an impressive number. Maybe, like me, they just read too many issues of Fortean Times or maybe, just maybe, there are layers and layers of otherness living just beneath the surface of ordinary life.

  1. Let me thread you a story… (1-26)
  2. Christina Lovejoy, town curmudgeon, takes great pride in her work. She’ll crank out a grumpy face & cynical comment for many occasions,
  3. but she don’t rightly hold with raining on the parades (or birthdays, weddings, and the like) of common folk.
  4. She mostly saves her curmudgeonliness for when people in power are acting like jackasses.
  5. (Although it did come in handy that time the town caught Excessive Jubilance Disease a few years back.)
  6. “Resistance is not futile,” Christina is fond of saying, often using a mock-robot voice. “Resistance is essential.”
  7. Take, for instance, that time President Turps & Vice President Pinche passed through Portalville on their way to an economic summit.
  8. Secret Service was out in force, of course, & nobody had a problem with that. After all, big men need protecting from public opinion.
  9. But just the week before Prez Turps declared he would build a great big ol’ wall around our portal to keep out illegal aliens.
  10. VP Pinche just nodded and gave his lord and master an idiot grin (cuz the man couldn’t find his own rear with both hands) and mumbled
  11. something about subversion and perversion and conversion. Couldn’t rightly figure what he was driving at but it sounded sinister.
  12. Thing is, couldn’t none of us remember seeing illegal aliens come through our portal, just the regular grey and Nordic variety,
  13. plus assorted critters from the Multiverse. But they’s somewhat of this town’s lifeblood, if you know what I mean. They keep us lively,
  14. and honest, if I’m being honest. Christina saw it just about the same way. She stood in the middle of Route 40 as the motorcade
  15. came through town. The Secret Service swarmed to clear her out of the way, but she presented them with her grumpiest of grump faces.
  16. Halted them dead in their tracks, I can tell you. Couldn’t get within ten feet of her. The motorcade had to stop.
  17. “I mean the president no harm,” she told everyone. “But I AM going to speak my mind.”
  18. All the tinted windows in the president’s limo spontaneously rolled down at once so he could hear what Christina had to say.
  19. “You can try building a wall around our portal,” she said, “but you should know we are a small town surrounded by big power….
  20. “Really big power, like HUGE, and it would be bad, very bad, and sad, very sad, if you did anything so rash.
  21. “That kind of power can’t be contained. It ripples out underground, spreading from this town out and beyond,
  22. “to places you can’t even imagine, like the hearts of good people, to the selfless and the courageous and the compassionate—
  23. “those things you & that Pinche with you have only heard spoken of & never felt yourselves. You can’t stop feelings, can’t stop ideas.
  24. “So I suggest you give up on that wall or you’ll be swallowed in an ocean of contempt that will drown you. Big water, big, big water.”
  25. Christina stepped out of the road, the president’s windows rolled back up, and the motorcade went on its way.
  26. But ain’t none of us heard any more nonsense about walling off the portal.

My morning commute is seven miles from front door to workplace garage. Being Los Angeles, that seven miles is fraught with many traffic headaches. Most mornings it takes about forty minutes—but there have been many notable exceptions.

Today was one of those. My commute took one hour and fifteen minutes. For much of that time I was stuck on the Lincoln Boulevard hill down from the Westchester plateau. There really are only three ways down from the plateau and I was on the wrong one. Construction on the Ballona Creek Bridge near Marina del Rey had reduced four-lane Lincoln to one-lane Lincoln. Even at the top of the hill I couldn’t tell where the problem lay as I was behind a large truck and in the lane next to me was a bus, both effectively blocking my view. I was stuck in the second lane because I knew the first lane was blocked ahead from previous commutes, and I couldn’t get over to the right because everyone in those lanes was just as blocked as I.

So I called work and told them I would be seriously late and tried as hard as I could to go with it and remain calm. Mostly it worked. I thought thoughts, I listened to music, I tried to stay positive, I amused myself by thinking of a guy on the elevator last night who escaped with his life because I didn’t possess an ice pick.

And so I sat for close to an hour. About a half hour in, I noticed a dragonfly, about five inches long. It flew back and forth over the hood of my car six times, not more than a couple of feet from my windshield. Knowing that dragonflies are very symbolic critters, I wondered if it had some message for me?

“This too shall pass.”
“Hello from Mom and Dad.”
“Pay attention, mortal.”
“Concern yourself with what’s important.”
“Which way to the wetlands?”

And in fact when he flew over my car the last time he headed purposefully west, towards the wetlands.

According to http://bit.ly/1RnTHQA

“The dragonfly totem carries the wisdom of transformation and adaptability in life. As spirit animal, the dragonfly is connected to the symbolism of change and light. When the dragonfly shows up in your life, it may remind you to bring a bit more lightness and joy into your life. Those who have this animal as totem may be inclined to delve deep into their emotions and shine their true colors.”

Okay. I wouldn’t necessarily count on that. And don’t even get me started on that whole “spirit animal” thang. I mean, I do acknowledge that I’m in sore need of transformation. But the ways of the world are strong.

It is, however, interesting that this should come up now. I was just having this conversation with myself last night. It was a little less poetic, though. More along the lines of “You better get your s**t together, girl, and stop acting like a baby. Things need to change.”

Maybe the dragonfly was a reminder of that, a reinforcer of my own soul’s message to Self. Maybe a coincidence, but it’s no fun thinking like that, unless you call it a synchronicity.

So, a synchronous message of soul to Self, or Self to self, or…

It was a very beautiful dragonfly, all blue and gold. I loved watching it fly.

  1. Let me thread you a story… (1-16)
  2. Sam Hotchkiss is the caretaker down to Shady Groves Cemetery. Sam says as how he likes his job, walking through the quiet and peace,
  3. making sure the residents are happy. Most enjoy the peace as much as Sam. Any that don’t tend not to stay in Shady Groves.
  4. They get up and wander ‘round town and sometimes have to be dealt with by Madame Nimby and her son Rupert.
  5. Others just wander the streets taking in the sights, seeing what old friends and family are up to.
  6. Wanderin’ gets old after awhile—and takes a passel of energy. When they dissipate enough of that restless mojo they go back
  7. to Shady Groves and their sod beds, wrap their grass blankets back around themselves, and rest eternal.
  8. Sam takes particular care of the children there. He feels bad they got cut off so young and didn’t have a chance to live long and prosper.
  9. He likes to leave marbles by their graves so they can have a game now and then. Used to leave stuffed animals, too,
  10. but they tended to get soggy when it rained and the kids didn’t care for ‘em much after that.
  11. Electronic games don’t work for similar reasons. ‘Sides, it’s difficult for the kids to maintain corporeal fingers long enough to swipe and tap.
  12. They do enjoy a nice game of hide n’ seek, sometimes with Sam, sometimes with each other.
  13. Ain’t rightly fair when they play with Sam, though. If he gets too close to finding them, they can just go invisible.
  14. That trick don’t work with each other—spirits can always see other spirits—but Sam is a mere mortal, after all.
  15. Them kids laugh and laugh when Sam seeks and seeks and never finds. “Play fair, you kids!” he’ll call out to them.
  16. But mostly he’s laughing when he says it. Can’t blame kids for having a good time.

This tale can also be found on Twitter @downportalville.
You can read about us from the beginning at: http://bit.ly/2k1j8B7

1. Let me thread you a story…(1-30)
2. Mayor Begay has been in office for some time now. We like the job he does and the way he cares for all the people of Portalville.
3. Weren’t always that way. We had us a mayor before who caused nothing but hard feelings and chaos. Mayor Covfefe.
4. As I’ve said before, folks in Portalville are generally accepting of everybody, but even good folks get scared sometimes.
5. If you’ve got an unscrupulous sumbich who likes chaos and playing on people’s fears it’s sometimes hard to break through the stramash,
6. and get people thinking sensibly once more. Mayor Covfefe was one of those sorts. Took over the City Council with his pack of yes men,
7. forcing agendas on the town nobody really liked but were too scared to oppose. Nobody trusted anybody else, see, and figured everyone
8. was out to get them, so no one wanted to listen to what others said without starting a yelling match.
9. So much screaming in the extremes when most folks just wanted to negotiate some peace that the City Council ground to a halt.
10. Weren’t no business getting done, or only what business lined the pockets of Mayor Covfefe and his cronies.
11. They tried to shred every principle we held dear here in Portalville, violating city by-laws like confetti.
12. Pretty soon folks was yelling at each other over every tiny thing that came along and forming parties of folk yelling in the same key.
13. We had us the Portalville League of Lawyers threatening to file suit over anyone who didn’t agree with them.
14. Fortunately, they mostly couldn’t agree with each other so their suits went nowhere or were easily dismissed by Judge Mathead.
15. Then we had us the Portalville League of Opposition. They didn’t really have a point of view except that they were in opposition…
16. to everyone else in town. “What are you opposing?” people would ask. “What have you got?” they’d answer.
17. The Portalville League of Witches got so fed up they put reversal spells on half the town. So many folks walked around
18. with heads on backwards they didn’t know if they was coming or going & got a much closer look at bodily functions than they ever wanted.
19. Finally, Sherman Begay, the town shoemaker, had enough. He formed the Portalville League of the Beleaguered to try to reassert sense.
20. Bar-Bar Shumay was one of the first to join, followed by Madame Mosibelle Nimby and her son Rupert.
21. They held giant clear-seeing resistance rallies where everyone who showed up got the scales lifted from their eyes.
22. Pretty soon, folks saw that Mayor Covfefe was a minor god of chaos, although no god of chaos is ever truly minor.
23. His magic had scared folks into going against their better nature, against what they knew was right.
24. (Then again, some folks ain’t got better natures and think right is only what is right for them. Even the most powerful magic
25. can’t do nothing to heal that kind of perversion. What’s required to fight them folks is a really big stick.)
26. Fear is a great motivator, but I got to believe love is, too. Once Sherman Begay, & Bar-Bar, & the Nimbys broke through the shouting,
27. let people see the truth, most folks came around. They realized that loving your neighbor wasn’t just a passel of pretty-sounding words.
28. It’s a way forward, a commitment to doing what’s right for the whole community.
29. Folks decided that they’d rather live in harmony than have their own way in every tiny thing. Compromise became a holy tenet.
30. Come next election, Mayor Covfefe lost by a landslide. And that’s how the new mayor, Sherman Begay the shoemaker, saved our souls.

This tale can also be found on Twitter @downportalville.

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