Meaning in the Mundane {45}: The Universe is a Strange Mistress…

My two favorite things: trees and a starry sky.

As some of you may have noticed, shit’s been crazy here in Zelda’s world. If something is capable of change, it is changing. Anything with the slightest degree of give is shifting. I am beyond exhausted, unable to respond to anything with more than a nod — even things which should bring tears elicit nothing more than a deep sigh and heave to move on to the next pressing issue. Of which there are many.

But even as the very ground is crumbling under my feet, I keep managing to find people who are intensely positive, magical, and inspiring.

Today, in a random store, in a random town I never liked driving through, much less visiting, I found myself in a conversation with a lovely artist named Deborah. Deborah had a round, kind face and silver hair down her back. She wore earrings of thinly sliced cuts of wood that ended in fat teardrops of labradorite — my absolute favorite stone. Around her neck was a long strand of antique silver beads from a tribe in Mexico that I can’t pronounce, much less spell, that held a large leather tassel she’d found in Africa. She spoke with a soft drawl which she revealed to be South Carolinian — “They told me I’d lose it after 14 years but I’ve been here 36!” And her laughter tinkled with real gratitude when I told her I thought she lived her life according to her own plans, and that no yankee immersion would change her.

Upon seeing my owl tattoo (hey, I’m 35 — aren’t I required to have one?), she began describing her home — a cottage nestled in the woods, surrounded by barred owls and a great grey that calls throughout the night. And merlins! Tiny hunters the size of pigeons that I’ve never seen outside of rehabilitation centers that swoop her bird feeders and terrorize the chickadees that feed there. Her ex husband insisted she would never survive in the woods alone, but she’d gone on to create a cozy and beautiful home and studio where she painted and made jewelry and tended to her cats who she trained to not attack the birds.

We talked about the magical pockets of light that exist in this part of the country, about how at this time of the year, the very air is golden thick like honey, and how the trees play tricks on you when you try to paint them, the foreground thrown into shadow by the sinking sun.

There, surrounded by beautiful artwork by people from around the world, she asked what I did. I’m a baker, I said, and maybe a writer. And she asked, and I told her my idea, which actually, for once, came out effortlessly. And she said, simply, “Honey, that’s why you’re here.”