religion

Totems

I heart irony. I do. I’m not even being snarky. Though usually I prefer it when it’s in someone else’s chi, not mine. I had a completely different post for this morning—because it’s thursday, because it’s coffee talk—but as I walked outside with the laptop and coffee, and plopped onto my spot on the porch, I noticed a new friend. A dragonfly.

A dying dragonfly.

Now those that know me already see the irony. Those that don’t, well, I’m a big fan of dragonflies. Dragonflies and fireflies, my insect weaknesses… The only tattoo [so far] is two dragonflies with multiple meanings—strength, willpower, connections, colored for my children, and nicknamed “Faith” and “Fire”. [“Hope,” the purple one, is getting inked to look like a toe ring next] I have a journal with a dragonfly given to me by a dear friend [who I really need to call]. Another friend completely covered my world in dragonflies when I moved out last fall and left my ex-husband—dotting the apartment with stickers of my lovely little iridescent friends. Another friend saw one and took an amazing picture, thought of me, and gave me a new wallpaper for my phone. And my best friend gave me a silver dragonfly necklace, which hasn’t come off my neck since I opened the box. Dragonflies have always fascinated me. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that, growing up, I always saw them around water and I love me my bodies of water. Water = happy times, dragonflies were a part of that. They represent a ton of things in different cultures and beliefs. Their symbolism includes an ancient belief that they are the souls of the dead.

And this one is dying.

A maroon body with golden wings at the base that become translucent at the tips. I was excited to see him, until I noted he wasn’t moving. A gentle prod later and there was some flicker of life, but it was weak. i don’t see anything wrong or broken. There are no obvious injuries. But you can tell. These are death throes. I can only presume he’s a victim of last night’s storms. He didn’t find shelter. He got badly beat up by the winds and heavy downpour.

I debated putting it out of its misery, and then irony hit. What kind of karma comes with killing your totem? Is it killing a part of you? Or is it giving it a dignified death? It’s not like they scream when hurt, so I don’t know if he’s in pain or not. I don’t know if he’ll recover or if he’s too weak and will eventually succumb to the call of kin long gone. I don’t know what to do… Which is ironic, since part of the symbolism of a dragonfly is clarity.

He’s still flicking his foot occasionally. My clarity is no where to be seen. I think I’ll name him and give him some time. And if need be, a small corner of the garden…

What Metaphor?

Band-aids absorb blood but don’t help the healing process. Duct tape can also stop a leak and is much stronger, but is aesthetically lacking. Super glue though, super glue is used by hospitals in lieu of stitches, dries clear, and will latch on to almost any surface.

Almost.

Sometimes when a friend is in a bad place, we get out the band-aids. We stop the bleeding but we leave the healing to them. Other times we need to pull a MacGyver, magically whipping out the duct tape, paper clip and bubble gum to stop the nuclear meltdown. But then there are those times when band-aids don’t quite fit the bill, the shape is wrong or the location doesn’t allow adhesion. There are times when the duct tape, for all its strength is still only a souped up band-aid. That’s when we pull out the friendship super glue. We use our calming voice, we reassure the wounds will heal without too much scarring, and we help them get comfortable while the Tylenol kicks in. However, for all the intent to fix, for all the desire to mend, for all the power one drop holds, it doesn’t always hit its target.

Ever tried to fix something with super glue and one drop doesn’t work so you blow on it to dry that attempt and add a little more? When it still doesn’t work, you dry it again—if you’ve got something handy, a nail file or actual sand paper, you may try to re-roughen the area—and add a drop to both sides. You blow lightly hoping to catch just the right moment when it’s tacky but not dry and then slam the broken pieces together and grin—all proud of yourself, for surely it worked this time. Except it didn’t. It won’t. It just slides around and stays broken. And now it’s gooey and you’ve made a mess, and when it dries it’s going to look like a kindergarten art project. Meanwhile, you’ve glued a paper towel and a toothpick to the counter, and are frantically trying to find the fingernail polish remover to separate your fingers. You tried to fix something and failed, miserably, ending up with nothing but your own skin stuck in the mess.

Friends carry band-aids in their back pockets. Friends keep extra rolls of duct tape in their glove boxes. Friends will drive two towns away, or hop on a plane, to find that all-night drug store and get the super glue when you need it most. But sometimes, sometimes, friends can’t fix the break. Can’t heal the wound. Sometimes things are fixable, sometimes they’re just broken. In those instances our band-aids and tape and even super glue is useless. The best we can do is offer a meek smile, a hug, a cup of coffee, a back porch, and hand over the tube of glue… hoping that the friend who needs it will have better luck with it. Or that they’ll understand that sometimes broken is broken and just throw the pieces away.

I have coffee and the equivalent of a back porch. But what I really need right now is some fingernail polish remover…

Holy Hand Grenades

So I made my eggs, by myself [monkeys were at their dad’s and who says you need kids to play with food coloring?!]. It was fun. I turned on the tunes and hunted down a crayon and made everything from flowery, pretty eggs to orange and black Halloween eggs. Because, well, I could! I think we should color eggs in the middle of August… just cuz. I mean, why not? Why only at Easter? Because it’s tradition? Puh-lease. Have you looked at some of our modern traditions lately?

Easter. Really? It’s been warped and twisted—like Christmas. Start with a day off [for some] for Good Friday and kill the son of God, toss in some egg coloring and hiding, a ton of chocolate and/or sugar in general, an Easter Bonnet [which has nothing to do with dressing for church and everything to do with being the springtime version of a Christmas stocking], turn the son of God into a zombie, tithe, eat ham, hug your family members, and close out with a post-meal nap without a football game to yell at.

All the pagan holidays were taken over by religion, and hundreds of years later, the mess that’s left is a commercial nightmare. But who says we can’t have some fun with this, eh? After all, we celebrated another confused holiday with green beer not too long ago! So how’s this… Jesus vs. the Easter Bunny [and now I have that scene from the Holy Grail stuck in my head!] Can you just imagine the conversation if either of these lovely fictional beings were real?!

Jesus: So ya know, it’s my birthday. Well, second birthday technically. Hey! I wonder if that’s where “born again” comes from.

Easter Bunny: Whatever dude. Just shut up and help me hide the damn eggs.

Jesus: Yeah, eggs. I’ve been meaning to ask… um. You don’t lay eggs. So… ya know…

Easter Bunny: Serious? You’re gonna go there?! Didn’t I explain this to you once already? I’m a fertility symbol, the eggs are a fertility symbol…

Jesus: But Easter is about my resurrection, not fertili—

Easter Bunny: Dude, really?! I have nothing to do your with your dogma. I was a happy little pagan holiday that celebrated spring and life, until your *ahem slayers ahem* converters came along and WHAM, they made a christian holiday that coincides and started sucking ’em into your pews.

Jesus: That’s not how I roll… you know that, right? That wasn’t me, or my idea…

Easter Bunny: Doesn’t matter anymore. Millions of children are confused as hell each spring when they hunt for eggs and eat chocolate and then get dressed up to go to church. 1+2=7 in modern tradition. Now shut the hell up and hide the damn eggs… my feet are killing me and I’d like to have a drink or ten before I crash for the night.

Jesus: Do you have any wine?

Easter Bunny: No, dude. I have beer. Dark, thick, lovingly brewed by women with thick necks, beer… I’m German ya wanker. We drink beer.

Jesus: I’m telling my dad you called me that!

[For those new to the show, or that just don’t pay attention, yes, I’m a dirty rotten atheist. But I won’t hold it against you =) I actually don’t care what you believe, as long as you leave me out it. If this offended you, you let it. And that, much like which socks you chose this morning, had nothing to do with me. Lighten up… eat a hollow chocolate bunny ear or something. I apologize for nothing—though I didn’t expect the bunny to sound bitter, nor plan for Jesus to sound like a surfer]

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— · Merrimack Valley · —
Halloween Book Festival
TBA 2020
Haverhill, MA

— · Scares That Care WI · —
2020
Racine, WI

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