Saturday, November 23, 2013

Throwing Up in the Back Seat of the Car as a Means to Enlightenment

We used to go on long drives as a kid. I mean long.
Two adults, two children and once a giant stuffed
panda bear in a VW beetle, heading across the dusty
Hay plains in search of the glistening waters
of Surfer's Paradise.

When I wasn't barfing or feeling like barfing,
or my brother wasn't barfing, I'd look out the window.
It was the sixties - the only hand held device
was a paper sick bag.

Out on the flat plains between States, Australia is
dry and dusty and flat. It's hot, and monotonous
but hypnotizing. With the rocking rhythm of the
car, and telegraph poles punctuating the view it
seemed to my dozy mind a dance.

girl in the bar

I saw the entire world as one sentient being,
each element knowing it's part. Now the hills would
roll and glide, perhaps a pas de deux of cars
taking turns to lead. The clouds would gather in a
chorus line at the horizon, and maybe a crow
appears to circle solo.

There seemed such grace to everything, and perfect
timing. I wondered at the majesty of creation,
and the magic of it.

Every living thing seemed conscious of their part
in the dance,  each with impeccable timing.
They danced for themselves
they dance for each other and they dance
because that is what they were born to do.

As I gazed, nose pressed to shatterproof glass inside
that Volkswagen, this was my impression of the world.

I grew up, and discovered my life wasn't shatterproof,
but still held to a deeply rooted belief that even that,
was a dance.

Which is why I believe in signs.

Young Girl at the Hellen Keller School, 1950

Post-it notes from the universe, God on twitter, signs
are part of the dance. The only pre requisite is that
you need to be up there dancing and not goofing off
in the cheap seats.

Last week I had a tiny epiphany of the most personal kind.
I'd been chewing away at something, like you do, trying
to get to the answer.

The answer arrived while making tea, as epiphanies do.
They happen in the shower or washing dishes, when
the normal mind and body are engaged in everyday
and the dream self can go wandering for treasure.
I got the why. I had the "aha!"

That night there was storm. It split a beloved tree in half,
creating an instant atrium through the bathroom
window. Not only that, but a Mumma bat had been
killed, leaving a baby wriggling beneath her.

Unconnected events - except they related strongly to
my own tiny world and the previous puzzle that had been
gnawing at me. The split tree related to an aspect of it,
like confirmation, and rescuing the baby fruit bat so
it could have another chance also related.

taken in Cambridge Common, Boston, Massachusetts sometime in October 1970 when there were a number of anti-Vietnam protests taking place almost every weekend.

There's a difference between observing the dance
and our part in it, and grasping at "signs". Rescuing
baby fruit bat was a pas de deux between me and the dance.

Dancing Mumma by Silvia on flickr

Either that or it was just a baby fruit bat. I choose the former.

What was your last post-it-note from the universe, God, the great pumpkin, Dog?


  1. Wonderful post, Denise! And awesome story. My last post-it from the Universe came today -- it said, "There's no place like home." I had had plans to drive down to San Francisco in early January for the Vintage Paper Fair...which sounds like a really cool thing to do. Except that I hate to spend all that money just to get there and stay there for a couple days, just for the opportunity to buy stuff I really don't need in the first place. And besides, I'm really a hermit anyhow and prefer being home to being anywhere else. And now I don't have to leave my cat for a couple days, which I was loathe to do anyway. So I changed my mind about the trip. And now I'm happier!
    Have a great weekend! xo

  2. My last post it from God was on November 12th, sitting in a tub of hot springs mineral water, leaning back and letting tiny little snowflakes land on my face. I heard Him and He heard me, and nature danced with me that day. Peace landed in my heart as gently as those snowflakes landed on my face. xoxo Love your posts and love your pins and love you! <3

  3. I believe in signs, too. The other day I had something on my mind concerning another person, well, a situation with that person. I went out for a walk, among the trees and the mounds of fallen leaves. By the time I got back to my place, I knew what I had to. It wasn't easy, but it was the right thing to do.

  4. Loved all the dancing pictures.
    As regards messages - mind too scattered to recall specific one -but plenty are sent
    but perhaps not all are retrieved!

  5. When the owl perched in our back yard tree, it was a sign.

  6. Thank you for rescuing the baby bat...

  7. I rescued a bat when i was little but it didnt make it, i was always rescuing stuff as we lived right out in the countryside. We always got mice in the kitchen and my Mum used to set a humane trap and if we got a mouse i would release it out back, i would walk a long way incase it came back, but i swear the next day that mouse would be back in the trap smirking at me!

    When Iwas 17 I spent a year travelling in Australia and hitched across the Nullabor desert...and yep its dry and flat and long but kinda beautiful...i am glad to have those memories.
    hope the little bat survives and as for post it notes,,,i try to listen to them, I'm getting better at it :-) xx


    1. You hitched across the Nullabor? And your alive to tell the tale???

    2. Yep!! I'll tell you about it one day xx :)

  8. What a "YES!" post! I love how you get to the heart of things.
    I'm always looking for messages, neon signs. This last year has been full of them, while wondering what to do while watching the wonderful school I've worked at for more than 20 yrs. head downhill under new administration, after three years of us fighting the good fight, the largest tree in the playground fell...I knew it was time to plan my exit. I posted about it here...

  9. Yep I believe in signposts, but don't think I'm too clever at recognising them or interpreting them though I'd desperately love to be able to. Poor wee little bat. Fab pics.

  10. I read your post yesterday and have been thinking about it. Many of your posts are like signs to me. I love finding post-its from God. Today on Tumblr .... "Silence is also conversation" — Sri Ramana Maharshi. My other half is away for the weekend and this little post-it resonated.

  11. You are my new favorite person to listen to.
    I believe in signs, and in fairies, and in magic.
    Once, on a dark day full of pop-up tragic memories, my 11 year old daughter (hand in mine, still), were about to step into a book store for comfort, when a single white feather (seemingly from nowhere) floated down gracefully in front of us. We looked at each other and I said, "an angel's feather has fallen." and my brown eyed beauty said, "there are real angels?" and I whispered "yes."

  12. The "signs" are all around us, we just need to be present enough to see them. It's a way to experience the magic of childhood!

  13. Sometimes signs, bold or subtle, other times an elbow to the ribs and instructions such as "lighten up." With money particularly, I have come to take something as small as finding a coin on the sidewalk as a reminder of abundance around me. They jostle us out of funks and put us back in touch with the wiser parts of ourselves. I am very big on signs. xo

  14. Oddly, the time that I relate to those who care, about when I got the meaning of the big dance, was a car trip to the beach with my young sons, my fella, my dog - a lovely girl named Libby, and a man by the name of Howard who was a friend of ours in the 'Rain Man' category of thinkers. We had had a wonderful time, Howard laughing as he strode across the beach. 'Why are you laughing, Howard?' I'd asked, never learning anything. He replied, 'I'm happy, Jan Morrison'! He always used our full names. We were all tired in the car, my youngest red-head was slightly sunburned and cranky, my fella was driving a bit recklessly, and the dog starting barfing, having drank too much salt chuck on her happy way down the beach. Suddenly I was hit by the righteous fairy's wand. I got it. Everything was as perfect as it could be. I know some get enlightened on a mountain peak but I need whiny sun-kissed kids, up-chucking pooches, reckless men and a friend who always calls me by my full name.

    1. Jan Morrison,

      YOU are amazing. Thank you for the beautiful vignette of your own epiphany.

  15. My mother always said she'd come back to visit as a crow. Yesterday as I waited to meet my sibling who I only found out about having turned fifty a few years ago after growing up an only child, a crow swooped down over my head. After having spent time with my sister and meeting her fourth grade twin girls with blue eyes like mine for the first time(one of which had me to meet as one of her top ten on her bucket list) a raven stood in the path until we walked up and then very carefully stepped to the side and watched us as we passed. Today one of my mother's plates flew off the wall falling two feet, landing on my grandmother's china but nothing was broken... and yes I believe in signs....thank you for your post... Love the dancing pictures

  16. My life is full of these "signs"....A white and injured dove came to our apple tree for help 7 days before my husband's cancer surgery....Christmas day. My Dad passed away before Christmas last year. I went to McDonalds....the closest wifi to connect with the internet....Let it Be (Beatles) was playing inside...".There will be answer....let it be"....My Mom passed away 3 months later....Went to the clubhouse of the family beach condo...again to connect to wifi....A gentleman asked if he could play the piano there....Of course. He returned with music and played my Mom's favorite piano piece...The last music she could play before her memory was lost. How incredible....of the thousands of choices he had....he chose that one....Really just stuns me when these things happen....quite often.....There is enchantment and wonder all around us. Thank you for your words....because you provide exactly what I need to know and read on more than one occasion...and I am grateful.

    1. Susan,
      what a beautiful story - especially about the piano music . Where is YOUR blog? That's a story to share!

  17. I used to have a t-shirt that read "you're just jealous because the little voices are talking to me" - has a work colleague who could never fathom it out! Keep dancing x

  18. Greetings from Scotland! A terrific piece of writing with marvellously nostalgic photos. My favourite is the Nietzsche quote - I'm going to have it printed on small cards to pass on to friends.
    Eddie_K x


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