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.
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.