Tag Archives: animal totems

What I learned from some blue jays

imagesYVV4JR9TA few weeks before Christmas, I saw three blue jays in our backyard. Three blue jays lined up on a white picket fence, their painted crowns poking into the morning sky.

I knew there was some meaning in my sighting. I went to my computer and looked up the blue jay as an animal totem.

“If you have a Blue Jay totem, you must learn to use your personal power properly. Be careful not to become a bully. The word ‘jay’ comes from the Latin word ‘Gaea’ which is Mother Earth. A Blue Jay totem links you directly with the power of the Earth itself. It can link the heavens and the Earth and give you access to universal energies and power.”

I try to remember to be a partner and a parent and not a bully. Sometimes the line is blurred, especially because I am a person who admires strength as both a physical and mental quality.

I watched the oldest child do his second load of laundry. Ever. I wanted to yell at him to go through his pockets first.

This is the kid who carries around lighters and pocket knives, paperclips and disassembled pen parts, and other shiny detritus he finds on the ground.

But then I see him sifting through his blue jean pockets without my nagging.

The middle child always tells me what I want to hear. He has figured out that this is one way to get me off his back.

“Did you bring your dishes downstairs?” I ask.

“Yes,” he tells me.

I find his dirty dishes in his dresser drawer.

“You know that drawer doesn’t actually wash the dishes,” I say.

“Oh, I didn’t know,” he replies.

We laugh.

Laughter is a better sound than yelling.

After all, they are just dishes. Discs made out of clay.

We are made out of clay, too.

We can cut each other with our words.

Or build each other up so that we are so tall our heads poke into the clouds.

* * *

I saw another blue jay on Christmas Eve.

imagesBKLFD6HVOn the day after Christmas, I saw a red fox.

“Since the fox lives ‘between times’ — on the edge of land, visible as dusk and dawn, and can guide the way to the Faerie Realm. A fox can teach you to control your aura so that you can be more in harmony with others and the world.

If you have a fox totem, learning to be invisible is very important in your life. Imagine yourself blending in with your surroundings, becoming part of the background. Be very still and quiet. Through practice you can be unnoticed even at a party or in a crowd.

A fox totem also teaches good eating habits; the fox eats small amounts frequently which medicine is now telling us is better for our health.”

* * *

What about you? What are your animal totems?

The information on each animal totem comes from Lin’s Domain.

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Lady luck and shooting stars

It’s December, but I see them everywhere.

LadybugI spot the first one on a windowsill in the upstairs bathroom.  A lonely lady bug walking along the painted white ledge while the outside cold seeps in through the gaps and cracks of the old window.

I offer my hand and she crawls onto it.  Her hard shell belies her delicate nature.  I admire her armor, which protects her sensitive parts from the world.  We are alike in that way.

As the month of December passes, I find more.  One on my bedside table.  Another on my bedroom windowsill.  Several end up on the bed, pacing back and forth on the striped flannel sheets.  I find one under my pillow as I’m positioning it for the night.  It’s as if someone else placed a wish there for me.  The universe, perhaps.  If you believe in those sorts of things.

I believe in those sorts of things.  Omens.  Signs.  Signs from God.  Signs from the universe.

I pay attention when a bevy of ladybugs takes up residence in my house in the middle of December.  And I seem to be the only one to spot them.

I know it is my animal totem.  At least one of them.  The one that matters at this moment.

But I don’t look it up.  I don’t want to know what it means.

Good luck, I imagine.  They are lucky ladybugs after all.

I don’t want to know any more.

December is my month to hibernate, to rest up for 2015.  I deserve it.  The nothingness.  I’ve earned it.  At least that’s what I tell myself.

On New Year’s Day, I look up ladybug as an animal totem.  It means “wish fulfilled.”  The appearance of a lady bug heralds a time of luck and protection in which wishes begin to be fulfilled.

I know that for my wishes to come true, I have to write.

I wonder why I resist so much.  Sometimes it seems like the hardest thing to do in the world is to pick up a pen and scratch out a few sentences.  Good sentences or bad sentences, it doesn’t matter.  Starting is always hard.

Even on the first day of the new year I don’t want to write.

No shame.

No shame.

W shuts off the L Word reruns we are watching on Netflix.  Like she is my mother and knows what’s best for me.

She says she is helping me.

I just want to watch The L Word.

I figure I could be known for that.  Watching The L Word over and over and over again.  It was a groundbreaking drama.  Ten years ago.  But still.  Groundbreaking.  Where’s the shame in that?

Or online Scrabble.  I could just play Scrabble on my iPad on the intermediate setting.  How could there be any shame in Scrabble, America’s favorite word game?

But what I really want to be known as is a writer, which means I must write.

About ladybugs or The L Word or Scrabble.  It doesn’t really matter.  I just need to write.

* * *

Shooting StarDriving home on New Year’s Eve, we see a shooting star.

It’s a dot of white light that seems to fall from the sky.  A singular blip like the electronic “ball” in the game Pong.  It’s there and then it isn’t.

“Did you see that?” W asks.

“I did.”

It seems almost too perfect.  A shooting star to start off the new year.

I freeze inside.  Hold my breath.  I am too afraid to ask for anything, to make a wish.

Now, I am wondering if it is too late.  What’s the expiration date on a shooting star?

But maybe the wish part is optional.

Maybe it was the universe winking its eye.  Saying I’ve got this, I’ve got you.  No worries.  2015 is going to be epic.  Just you wait and see.

A boy and a turtle

One reason that I get sad sometimes is because my son is 14.

Fourteen and too big and grown for a mother, or at least that’s what he tells me these days.

I see him once a week if I’m lucky.

“Mom, can we skip this week? I’m really busy,” he informs me.

I usually say it’s okay because I don’t want to ruffle his feathers anymore than they already are. These days he’s like a peacock having a really bad hair day.

I get him every other weekend, but that too is subject to the whims of a 14-year-old boy.

When he was 13, he went to live with his father. I agreed to this new arrangement, knowing that if I held onto him too hard I would lose him for good.

Turtle crossing roadHe came home this weekend. One of the highlights occurred when we spotted a turtle in the middle of the road.

“Mom, pull over!” he shouted. “I have to save him.”

It had been a long time since I had seen him this excited.

I pulled to the side of the road and put on my hazards.

“Be careful crossing the street,” I said, unable to silence my inner mother.

He was. He was 14 after all. He picked up the turtle by the shell, carried it back to the car and placed it inside an orange bucket.

I have been carrying this just-in-case bucket in the trunk of my car ever since he was a little boy. There have always been frogs and toads and turtles and other creatures that have unexpectantly come into his life. The bucket has come in handy more times than I can enumerate.

I believe in animal totems among other things and tried to explain to my son how the turtle carried a message for him, for us.

He looked at me like I was crazy.

“Mom, we’ve lost you,” he said in a sarcastic voice that only a 14-year-old can master.

I knew not to protest. Not to try to explain the turtle sighting anymore.

But I also knew in my heart that the turtle was my sign to proceed cautiously and slowly and to have faith that in the end both of us would get to where we need to go.

* * *

From my writer’s group session today. Prompt: One reason that I get sad sometimes is because ________________.