Signs: Beckoned and Discovered

Sometimes I still beg for a sign.

Although I beseech the heavens out loud, I’m always alone when I do this.  Most often it’s after sundown and by the sea.  I usually have an answer within the hour.

Jim was both reliable and punctual.

I’ve realized only relatively recently that I live with two species of of signs.  One–the beckoned sign–tends to arrive noisily, often in the form of a song or a bird.  (At least once, a hoped-for sign arrived in pre-printed logo form.)  Sometimes it’s more subtle–a butterfly brushing my shoulder, a deer gently approaching.

Another kind of sign–which I now think of as discovered (though rediscovered might be more fitting)–is already in my reach.  I just need a little nudge to recognize its provenance.

Poet Rebecca Lindenberg–who also curated “The Museum of Lost Objects“–listed a partner’s ever-present everyday signals in a “Catalogue of Ephemera“:

You give me flowers resembling Chinese lanterns. . . .
You give me flowers resembling moths’ wings.
You give me the first bird of morning alighting on a wire. . . .
You give me yes. You give me no.
You give me midnight apples in a car with the windows down.
You give me the flashbulbs of an electrical storm.
You give me thunder and the suddenly green underbellies of clouds.
You give me the careening of trains.
You give me the scent of bruised mint. . . .
You give me hyacinths and narcissus. You give me foxgloves
and soft fists of peony. . . .
You give me paintings of women with their eyes closed.
You give me grief, and how to grieve.

Viewed this way, I see signs everywhere.

Jim gives me the Giant’s Causeway’s infinite pillars, which descend and flatten into steps across the sea to Scotland.  He gives me the steps of Genovesa in the Galapagos, the deep blue of the island birds’ feet, and the sea lion that creeps up to my daughter and nuzzles the red-gold curl that escaped her pony tail and is dangling from behind her ear.

Clouds shaped like mythical beasts and patched with inexplicable rainbow tufts.  A riot of fallen maple leaves laced with intricate raindrops.  Flowers shaped like sea dragons and hearts.

A purple-black mussel shell with a serrated edge, tiny shark’s teeth where I rub my thumb. Enormous stones high on Maine’s rocky shore, on a cold October night, when he faced the ocean and stars and I faced him and we talked about the children and life we hoped to have–which he gave me, too.

About Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She also is an adjunct professor at a law school on the banks of the Charles and loves that dirty water, as she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2020 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with Wordpress protocol and the numerous other wee buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.
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6 Responses to Signs: Beckoned and Discovered

  1. scillagrace says:

    My Jim gives me dreams, my children’s smiles, the whisper in my head that I am loved, and the inexplicable zero on the digital scale when no one is standing on it. I think he’s proud that he’s finally lost weight. 🙂

  2. Love your “Life is Good” bag. Hometown company. 🙂

  3. ann martin says:

    Beautiful — I feel your sadness and comforting ability to grieve through such thoughts, words and pictures. AM

  4. beautiful photography!

  5. gocameron says:

    Beautiful images in my mind now, TY for sharing

  6. SimplySage says:

    Beautiful writing. Yes, how easily we can miss the signs surrounding us.

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