Altering Course

Last week, a road runner came to visit. He sauntered about the deck, with now and then a little burst of flight, landing on the table, and an overturned chair, and the stucco wall that overlooks the orchard. He was curious, in no hurry at all, and seemed to be scouting things out, assessing the appeal of the neighborhood.  I mentioned my feathered visitor to a friend later. “Spirit bird,” he said.

If this was to be my spirit bird, I wanted to know what road runners symbolize. I looked it up,  and all of the interpretations were hopeful…for example, bravery, epiphany, a shift in perspective. God, if ever someone needed a shift in perspective, it was me.

I had trouble sleeping that night, as I often do, but in a long wakeful stretch in the dark wee hours, I saw bright Venus above the hills to the east. Then I fell back asleep, and I had a vivid dream about my friend Dorothy. I’ve written about Dorothy before; she’s a poet and teacher, a little older than me, like a big sister, and she shows me how to gracefully move forward. We often sit and talk beside a little lily pond in her backyard, and in my dream the pond shimmered and expanded and became a great blue inviting lake surrounded by tall orange rushes. (I had recently read Annie Dillard’s gorgeous description of the total eclipse of 1979, in which the landscape was transformed and all the colors were otherworldly, and perhaps the shifting realities and bright strange colors in my dream were a residue of that.) Dorothy’s response, however, was surprisingly matter-of-fact. She simply encouraged me to get wet before the lake receded. And that was probably good advice.

But daylight found me sad again, and tired, and not at all certain how to proceed. I thought about that energetic little road runner, and I yearned for some inspiration, or a prompt to get me going. That’s when a message came in from a friend of mine, inviting me to go on a road trip. There could only be one answer. I said yes.

I’m leaving Thursday, and I’ll tell you more about it soon. My blog has been down…some sort of automatic update went awry…but my technically adept son-in-law has kindly restored it, and I’m up and running now. So do come back. I may have some stories.

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