Magic & Mystery


I have been reading Celtic Fairy Tales before I go to sleep at night like bedtime stories. I kept bumping into Celtic references in unexpected places and I decided to follow that thread. My father’s ancestors were believed to be from all over the British Isles. Perhaps in there somewhere I have Celtic roots. There are a lot of ways I could have begun to explore Celtic traditions, but I begin with fairy tales. I read fairy tales constantly when I was a child. I still have all of my old books. Some of the oldest and dearest illustrated editions are held together with band-aids that I wrapped around their spines 45 years ago. The Celtic stories that I am reading now feel different than the “European” tales I remember. They feel a bit rougher around the edges and more deeply connected to the natural world. In all of them it seems that an individual, faced with some hardship, goes on a journey with the intention of improving his or her lot in life. Their travels inevitably take them somewhere unexpected.  Along the way they gather traveling companions, information, and new abilities. Not all of the Celtic tales end “happily ever after”. Some of them simply tell a story until it is over.  At the end of these, much like life, there is no climax. There is no wrap up. The hero left home, things happened, things changed, he or she is home again and life goes one.

I like the idea of life being a series of journeys that change our situation. The past year has felt like that kind of journey. I am aware of where I have been and how my focus has changed.  I am aware of the changes because I have been writing about my experiences. Usually I loose track of how the journey began. I do not spend much time writing about my marriage anymore or about the nut and bolts of reclaiming my identity.  I am still on the journey to find myself, redefine my life, and reclaim my identity but my expectations and experiences are changing.  I have picked up traveling companions, information and abilities along the way. My focus has shifted. I find myself unexpectedly fascinated by birds, talking to trees, and I recently began a relationship with a small silver dreidel that now comes with me to work to assist me with my clients.  It all feels a bit magical. I wonder if that is because of the wonder I am feeling as I experience the mysterious and unexpected moments in my life.

Lately the mystery that I have been focusing on is the ducks in my pool.  My pool guy knocked on my door the other morning to talk to me about my “duck problem”.  I nodded in acknowledgement. I did not tell him that I do not think my ducks are a problem.  How could I explain to him that I love my duck visitors and would be happy letting my pool become a huge cement pond? If I could figure out how to do it and still have a pool, I would be happy to have fish and frogs and ducks swimming with me all summer. I would love to swim laps with tadpoles between my toes. My favorite swimming pool is built into the river that runs through Chico, CA. It has been cemented in on the bottom, the sides and at both ends in a way that still lets the river run through it.  It is a pool and a river.  It is perfect. When our kids were little we used to drive hours out of our way to swim there on any car trip into Northern California.

The ducks have been coming to use my pool every spring that we have lived here.  I have no idea if they are the same two birds every year but there is always a male and female.  This year, for the first few weeks only the male came. He flew in every afternoon at sunset. Night after night he touched down on the water for the briefest second before flying off again, like a nervous boyfriend who did not want to be caught waiting around. I created an entire story for him. In my mind the female had died and he was returning to a place they had both loved. Each night he was too broken hearted to be there without her and could only stay for a second. After more than two weeks of this, one evening I looked out and there they both were. I love watching them. All afternoon they float in the water, rest, float some more, nap, walk around the deck, and float again. They do not seem to argue, or need much from each other. I have a lot to learn from them.

Ducks are the largest and most diverse group of waterfowl. Ducks are said to reminds us that we sometimes need to return to the parts of ourselves that need to feel safe and comfortable. They teach us to be graceful when handling our emotions, to be gentle with ourselves and to drink sustenance from the waters of life. They are known as a helper of clairvoyance and seers. Water is the carrier of the intuitive messages that we so often miss in the mix of our busy minds. Ducks remind us to listen to our emotions and feelings and experience them as truths.

In the creek not far from here 12 babies ducks have hatched and are swimming daily behind their mother. A large pond across the street and up the hill is teeming with a large flock of male Mallards.  My ducks are only here at sunset for a few weeks in the spring. I have no idea where they spend the rest of the year.  When they are here they remind me to stop at the end of the day. They remind me to walk around, float and occasionally take a moment to tuck my head under my wing.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>