Magical Thinking

Did not know this was a psychological disorder. I mean after all Joan Didion seemed to make it mainstream. Paulo Coelho flat out encourages it. Following the breadcrumbs laid down by the universe, imagining significance and symbolism directed to guide you, asking the universe for a sign—and getting one that is personalized—just for you?

I don’t know. I take my magical realism with a grain of salt; however, it does seem that if you set out to notice things, you do. It does seem that if you set an intent to take in the information that comes to you, that some is offered. Things do seem to show up that help. Magical thinking? Unflagging optimism? Mild insanity?

I mentioned in a post a while back that I asked the universe for a sign. I prayed for a sign, demanded a sign. OK, universe, I’m watching you. Give me a sign!

And, it appeared that I got one. I knew it when I saw it. I “felt” it was the sign I was asking for.

A friend had come to visit me in the depths of my impossible situation. She made the effort and showed up. And on her last day with me, she told me about how she dealt with her ex-husband’s family when they all sat around together for hours, and she felt stifled and trapped. It was then that she took up needlepoint. That’s when she whipped out her latest project—a peacock.

The peacock has had significance to me for a long time. As a child, I was fascinated with the only creatures at the zoo who were allowed to run free. Their beautiful displays made me want to touch their feathers. And the sad little peahen. It troubled me that she was so dull and unattractive. At a young age, it just seemed wrong that the male should be beautiful and the female drab and unremarkable. Why would that be so?

Later the peacock hit my consciousness as the symbol of pride for a national television station. “Proud as a Peacock” was the slogan sung to me countless times.

In my twenties I met an interesting man, younger than me so I’m not sure that “man” is quite the right word, young man? Anyway, he was interesting and rightly so, and smug and proud, like a peacock. And I told him this. Later I found that a friend of his had given him a peacock jewelry box. He liked my nickname for him and had adopted it.

Peacocks are a key feature at an area tourist attraction close to where I live, the Maryhill museum, in the Columbia River Gorge, a place on the cusp of beauty and desolation. A castle of sorts brought to America from somewhere I don’t know where.  A replica of Stonehenge, for some reason is close by.

Peacocks were the source of the wild desperate cries on the five acres I bought, and later sold, in eastern Washington. They had been brought in by someone. I don’t know what happened to them, but they ceased being there.

For a while, peacocks abounded everywhere I looked. I seemed to be chased by them. They were on stationery and scarves, blazoned far and wide. It’s not my sign. It’s not symbolic of me. I’m more of a chucker who would like to be a flamingo.

They interest me though. I hear they dance when they hear thunder or before a good rain.

And so this was the rush of feeling I felt when I saw my friend’s embroidery. A peacock. What kind of sign is that? What could it possibly mean?

And then I saw, just the other day, that the peacock is the state bird of India, where I will soon be visiting.

Magical thinking?

I recognized the sign when I saw it, but didn’t understand it. The universe after all is known for making you figure things out for yourself.

But now it seems the peacock is an invitation for me to think about this great bird in a new and different way.

And so I shall.


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