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Friday, May 20, 2011

THE BAT CARD

painting


Thursday evening a week ago, I had finished the day's project helping Justin paint the interior of the new house. It was after sunset, before dark, the gloaming. I was maybe a tenth of a mile from the driveway, gathering speed on Wagoner Ridge Road, 25-30 mph, and a bat flew across the windshield just a few inches from it. Evidently the bat had misread the speed of the car and flew a little closer than intended. The wings were grabbing at the air in a sudden panic to get out of the way of the flying wall. I feel like moments like that are worth noting, like when I turn down my road and a redtail hawk joins me, flying above where a hood ornament would be, no more than 6 feet in front of the windshield, loping along, looking back periodically to see if the truck is still back there. Crows have done that too. A few times going down the mountain, a fox has run out in front of the truck and run in the middle of the gravel road, the dog beside me on the seat dancing and squealing to get out and chase that fox on foot.



These moments don't happen very often, but now that they've started surfacing in my mind, there have been quite a number. I remember every one, like the time a horse-sized buck jumped over the hood of my truck in pea soup fog. I was on Air Bellows Gap Road a half mile from the Parkway in front of what was then the Colonel Holbrook house going no more than 10mph. The grace is what struck me as this horse with horns performed a full leap no more than 4 feet in front of my face. In every one of these surprise encounters with one of God's creatures civilization has not yet killed, it's the grace that strikes me most. Moments I've seen a running cow, I'm struck by the grace, tending not to think of cows as graceful, though they are. Most graceful of all, however, was the swimming water snake. She performed for me the very essence of grace. She changed the way I see legless reptiles.



On the day of such a chance encounter, I look up whatever it was in Jamie Sams' and David Carson's book MEDICINE CARDS. They tell, animal by animal, birds and reptiles too, the spiritual meaning of each of these threads in the Persian carpet of life on earth. Like the day a classic barn owl sat on a fence post and watched me drive by. I went online looking through pictures of owls called barn owl and couldn't find one. I went to Medicine Cards to see what the owl is about, and the illustration of owl was the exact same as the owl I saw. Sometimes, though not often by any means, I'll shuffle the deck and pick one card to look up its message for whatever is concerning my mind. I don't think of them an answer so much as something worth paying attention to, an assist in searching for the answer. A chance encounter with a bat I think of the same as drawing the bat card.



Bat "symbolizes the need for a ritualistic death of some way of life that no longer suits your new growth pattern....Bat signals rebirth of some part of yourself or the death of old patterns." I noted the ritualistic death the Indians went through on their vision quest, and looked at a vision quest in everyday life, a ritualistic death, whatever that might mean. Next evening I drove to Woodlawn to hear Skeeter & the Skidmarks, and returning home found the computer would not start. A big lightning storm went through while I was gone. Next day I carried it to Selma's coffee shop hoping Tim the Techman might be there. He did indeed come in. He took the battery out, started the computer plugged into the wall and replaced the battery while it was running. He said that "flushes" it. At home I got it going, then it wouldn't go online. Waited til Monday, took modem to Skyline office, had it tested and it was ok. Still could not get online. Called Skyline tech assistance and troubleshot to find the problem was not in the modem or the wire, but the "card" where it goes into the computer. Next day I took computer (laptop) to Selma's with modem and what amounted to a handwritten letter explaining what it has been troubleshot down to, to give him an idea what to look for.



I saw Tim next day at Selma's and he started with "do you want the good news or bad news first?" I bent over laughing seeing there was no way this was going to be as easy as I was hoping it would be. He said the wireless part still works and the other "card" is fried, I need a wireless router or a new computer. Router costs a lot less. I asked him what that was. He showed me the box with Selma's computer that makes it possible for people to bring laptops in to go online. My thought at the time, I'll have a blackberry inside a year.  Not that I want one, just recognition that it's probably the next step, like cds after cassettes. Tim brought a new wireless router this morning, plugged everything in, got it going, and now everything is copacetic. I have risen from the ritualistic tomb of a week unable to use the computer, unable to write to you for a whole week, and it got me out of sorts.



Every day, I imagined I'd have it going the next day. Each day told one more day. I started feeling dammed up inside wanting to write you every day and unable. I used Selma's public access computer for emails, but couldn't write like this there or at the library or even somebody else's house. Maybe it would work if I tried, but it comes down to, I don't wanna. And that's ok. I don't wanna is good enough reason for me as I have an appointment. It's really the best reason of all. I took a surprise vacation from writing you every day. The "bat medicine," rebirth of some part of myself or death of old patterns. One thing it did for certain was get me fired up to get back to writing you, every day fired up a bit more, a battery in a recharger. Every day something came to me I wanted to write about. A week offline inspired awareness of how much time per day I sit before the computer. Caterpillar could tell it.




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