Talismans

Earlier this week, Bye To Mr. Wrong posted a lovely life lesson titled Life Isn’t Fair, But It’s Still Good. It really made me think about the many things in my life that make me happy, give me comfort, keep me connected.

Small signs mean so much. In 2002 my family moved back to the small college town where my husband and I met, married, and lived for more years than either of us had lived anywhere else. The many reasons for this choice are the topic for another day, but we were lucky enough to have friends that rented us a small cabin in the woods on the edge of a nature preserve. We have loved the house enough that we talked the owner into selling it to us last year and are currently remodeling – another story for another day. The move, however, was very stressful and the future seemed very uncertain.  And then, several days after we moved into our new home, I looked out the kitchen window at the bird feeders in a nearby cedar tree and saw the most beautiful blue bird. I actually thought I was seeing some sort of stress and exhaustion induced hallucination.  When both J and I saw more, we looked them up and found that they were Indigo Buntings. I am not normally a bird watcher, but I realized that we were incredibly lucky, since we had not one, but several bluebirds blessing our new house. As we watched off and on all day, we noticed that the amount of light changed the appearance of the blue.

The next morning, looking out the window hoping to catch another glimpse, I got one of the true surprises of my life…buntings actually come in several colors, and on a branch outside the window was a Painted Bunting – I had no idea that east Texas wildlife came in such glorious colors. For eight summers at least one Painted Bunting has lived in our woods and let us watch him eat at our feeder. One summer we had several – I never managed to see them without feeling overwhelmed by the splash of color.

Last summer, one appeared for only a single day, and in the same way that the original and his successors had seemed like talismans whose appearance provided good luck and protection, so did that single appearance seemed to be a statement about the state of my life and relationship.

This summer, we have had as many as seven indigo buntings at any given time, but not one sighting of our brightly colored friend. By last Saturday I had given up hope of an appearance by a Painted Bunting. The last month has been very difficult, and at a few points I have felt like I was just too tired to keep trying, to keep moving forward, and the disappearance of this small talisman seemed like the final indication that my life was not moving in the right direction. And then on Sunday morning, there he was – as bright and beautiful as ever. In addition, he didn’t come alone, he brought a mate. I do not know why the appearance of this mated pair comforted me, but my outlook has been much brighter this week.

What talismans give you comfort?

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