Saturday, June 14, 2014

Angels, Otter, and Egrets

The traffic did not permit my crossing lanes to make the on ramp of the freeway I needed.

I was already lost, so this latest indignity only fueled the already high anxiety.

The sleek, black rental car and I made our way along the tree-lined boulevard somewhere in Minneapolis. There was no place to turn around; the GPS wasn't working; I don't use a smart phone; and my eyes are too bad to navigate with a map.

Then I get stuck behind a stalled car as traffic whizzes past, daring me to try and merge. Yes, I think, I am screwed, and, of course, because today, after all, is big-time bad-luck day. Friday the 13th. I'm all alone in a strange city behind schedule and it's about to cloud up and rain.

My roads are no where in sight and no one is answering the phone or coming to my rescue.

One could get a bit out of whack in moments like this, and I have a bad habit of damning it all in such situations. But, the mind is a wonderful thing in that it can learn new ways of responding, develop a rational basis that sees that all of this is just a situation, a situation that does not have to affect mood.

So, after a few good God-damn-it-alls, I switch channels and put on my blinker. Time to change lanes.

Soon, I am whipping along at 80 miles per hour, traveling west to meet extended family for a memorial service. The car hums, the light is soft on the blue lakes, and time seems to go on into distance as clearly as the rolling freeway.

I still don't know where I am, but I am humming and listening and reveling in the moment. I decide to put on my IPS, my Intuitive Positioning System, and just aim at where I want to go. I will get somewhere, and that somewhere might have something to teach me.

I exit where it feels right and just point the car along some kind of invisible trail.

It goes straight to Adams Park in Fergus Falls. I pull into an open parking area that is a memorial park for children who died too young. There are statues of angels around stone monuments with names of children and wishes for them. So much surrender here, so much grief.

Behind the monuments stands a large, concrete otter.

Yup. An otter.

Otters are a totem of mine. They are about play and running water. They come to me in dreams. They model and teach. I call myself Otter when I wander away from the rent world and into archetypal territory.

Then I saw an egret, a white egret. It flew to a tree on an island that was full of egrets.

Yup. Egrets. In Minnesota.

You may not see them, but this tree is full of nesting egrets.

Angels, otter, and egrets.

As I waited for an egret to photograph, my phone rang, and a voice roused me, gave me directions to the gathering. My sister Maggie felt called to call me from the Lake House.

"We are waiting for you," she said.

I got lost twice on the way there, but kept pushing the rental's nose into the wind. I had somewhere to be.

There would be food there, and stories. Lots of stories. The old men and women had gathered to tell us their stories.

Their sister had died. There was so little time, and so much had been lost that the stories, and the webs they wove, needed telling.

I was brought here to listen.

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