I find meaning in the small things. All the little stuff people pass by, ignore, or just plain don’t notice at all. Even when I pointed out the smiling dolphin in this log of fallen tree, the men who were doing the chain-sawing paid it no mind. It was as if it were invisible to them. Or they were just too busy being, well, busy. How unfortunate. I think you would have appreciated it, so here I can share it, freeze it in time before it was fodder for the fire.
I could not decide what would give me more joy to share with you this week, so I chose to present two photographs that display the hidden wonders I have discovered this winter. It has been too cold to do much exploring outdoors, so most of the time I have been creating indoor entertainment for myself, much of it a temporary fix for real fun.
But when I look and find smiles in the most surprising of places, in the most oddest of things, I keep it stocked in my photo album and keep rejoicing in it when the days are too dark. Like when the dead milk pods continue to stand despite the hardest winter wind, their gaping mouths parted as if to tell hello. Even a bit of tenderest silk seeds, long dead and lost, stick out like a frail white hanky signaling surrender. The snow covers them, but not completely, and they appear warm to me, like I could fit right in there and store some poems inside… or a secret message for some fairy lover to find. Come rescue me from ordinary, I’d scribble-cry.
I read into these things as if they were pages in books. I was trained to take note and study these omens, record them, draw them, be aware of what else is going on around me when I notice the signs. What were the birds doing that day? How were people reacting? What was the weather like? What did the clouds say? Yet I also keep in mind they may not be omens at all. The messages may just be ones I am making up. I am using what I am seeing to send myself signals… I automatically read them, it is within my nature, yet my imagination has a logic to it, I just need a good interpreter.
So what do I see?
The Dolphin in the wood is smiling and is accompanied by a bird with an open beak and a plumed head. The body of the bird looks like that of a tropical parrot, a macaw, perhaps? The dolphin reminds me of the innocence of my youth, when I still believed in heroes and legends and chased fairies in the woods. The bird with the open beak seems to herald a waking-up to a new morning or a revival of spirit. The dolphin resembles my first “spirit guide” when I was a baby witch going through my year and a day initiation period before my dedication. I still have the dream journal from those days, and most of my dreams were of that smiling, pink dolphin spirit who could transform into other kinds of animals and people. The wood was from a healthy ash tree that fell victim to a wind storm that knocked many trees down. The Ash tree is very special — the leaves and wood are used to cure loneliness, wands made out of ash are best used to help connect us to the Gods, and as the songs go “ash new or ash old, Is fit for a queen with a crown of gold!”
One teacher of mine, one who passed away years ago, used to walk around with a staff of ash wood. When he aged, he lost his sense of balance and reality, truly a pity, but he leaned on the ash, a staff he once used solely for magic, yet in the end it was his cane. They buried him with his staff. It was as long as he was tall. I know, I know, it is a pagan stereotype, can’t avoid it, some people are just that way. I consider it quaint and comfy, just so.
The ‘smiling‘ milk pods were the last of their kind to remain this winter and they are still there outside my door. I like to think they are there to remind me that even through the intense below-zero nights and snow falls, there they are with their frozen smiles a gape. Months from now the milk pods will come to life again, grow green, and sprout pink and white blossoms, smile open with the fall and spew out seeds til cold freezes them to death, all in that happy way.
Happy omens are creeping up all around me. The woodland spirits are not fully asleep this winter. They are peeking around each corner, teasing me, chasing after my cat, blowing indoors with the gusts of wind, crackling in the static that electrifies my hair!
I think of the dolphin in the wood and regret not picking it up and taking it home. Yet it is serving a purpose right now. It will keep someone warm this month. At least I captured the smile… and felt the joy and passed it on. Even the smiling milk pods will continue to smile long after their death now, preserved here for your viewing pleasure. All because I could not escape noticing them, and maybe that is what they were meant to do all along, to stay behind and be a smiling symbol of joy in the midst of lonely cold.
No. It is all about hope. Yes. I feel it. The hope.
What do you see when you look at what I see?