Wednesday, January 30, 2013


“What’s this stuff on my glasses?”

I pulled them off and looked at the left lens. A crinkly, irregular halo starting about one-third of the way in from the edge caught the light in sparkles and rainbows. Now, I personally think rainbows are very cool and sparkles, well, in the right place sparkles are just the thing. But not on my glasses.

“Why is it just on the left lens? That’s my good eye.”

I admit neither eye could now be considered “good” but I’m particularly fond of the left one because it’s the one I use to focus with. Everyone has a dominant, focusing eye and mine is the left.

I learned this a long time ago. Mom said that mixed dominance and crossed dominance (she had distinctions for both but I glossed over that a bit) ran in our family. I’m right-handed, left-eyed and right-footed. My brother is left-handed with a tendency towards ambidexterity. The closest I come to that is that I have the urge to play guitar left-handed. This doesn’t come up much since I don’t actually play guitar. But when I’ve tried, it just seemed upside down to me. I wanted my “smart hand” on the strings and frets. This may be why I don’t play guitar but neither the world nor I have suffered any great loss here, I suspect.

One of the things that having my dominant side switch hemispheres of my brain has made easier was hitting a baseball. If you bat right-handed, you look at the pitcher over your left shoulder. If the eye closest to the pitcher is your focusing eye, well, it seems like something of an advantage. I think I had a moment when I was 14 when my eyes and my ability to swing a bat came together. Home runs and triples! It was a short-lived success and is buried rightfully in obscurity, burning out that summer as I grew up and older and everything seemed to shift out of place again.

It was no help at all when I was in summer camp being taught how to shoot a .22 short rifle at a paper target. I had the urge to stand on my head, swing my chin to an impossible angle, do anything to adjust to be able to sight the sights. Oddly enough, I was, again for a brief period one summer, a crack shot with a short .22. Even my brother was proud of me! I was fine when I was shooting at a black and white paper target; when it came to actual hunting, I wanted to take them all home as pets. Confused as to concept, I’m sure my father and brother thought. I did not go hunting with them. I’m glad. I don’t like killing things, except perhaps paper targets. That’s probably the source of our political differences today.

Still, having gurk on your glasses is not helpful when you rely on the things for everyday living, crack shot or not.

“Think that will wash off?” I rummaged for the glass cleaner. It’s got to be around here somewhere. It didn’t wash off.

“There’s some coating that’s coming off,” I groused to The Hubs, who looked amused at my running conversation with the glasses, the cleaner, the cats, the floor, himself.

“It’s worn out,” he said. “You need to use the other eye more to even out the wear.” This is his brand of humor.

I thought back to when I had purchased them. It must have been a couple of years ago. I had tried the fancy blended tri-focals once. After nearly throwing up in the grocery store and missing more than one step in a too-speedy descent, I had declared them evil and pernicious. I wanted to look down and far away and up and up close. The blended tri’s expect all downs to be close and all ups to be far. And you can’t put them on upside-down and have them work. Dissembling betrayal! I will not put up with nausea and danger. I decided to get a pair for close work and another for distance vision.

I do use the near vision glasses a lot more, so much more that I bought two pairs of them so that when I stepped on one or the cats had playfully skittered one under the bedside table, I would have the other pair at hand to find and perhaps fix the injured pair. I like reading, writing, cards, needlework, beading, little fiddly things. I drive every so often and seldom see a movie in the theatres.

“I can still see colors!” I protested when John asked where my distance glasses were. Besides, that friendly doctor who measured and puffed at and “now 3? Or 4?”’d my eyes the last time said that my distance vision was probably not too bad uncorrected. Of course if I wanted to read a street sign to find out where I was, that was a bit problematic. Monet and Van Gogh painted beautiful pictures but imprecise signage, if you get my drift.

Now my reading glasses, both pairs, were … what? Disintegrating? What was that sparkly stuff? Some coating coming off? But why was it doing this just on the left lens?

Rather than continue to contemplate the issue in detail, I made the only sane choice and made a vision appointment. I recognized the name of the doctor they set me up with, the same guy I’ve been seeing. I was glad. He might be the only person at Kaiser-Vallejo with a sense of humor lately, with the exception of the flu shot nurses. But then, when you’re in optometry, generally the worst people beef about is that things “look funny.” Usually that’s not life-threatening. So he can afford to be easy-going.

Of course, I do feel sorry for the life doctors and nurses have chosen, dealing with all those foul-tempered sick and hurt people all the time. As my friend Al, the retired urologist tells me, after a lifetime of checking under the hood with people, there’s nobody out there who looks like Elle McPherson. So much for dashed hopes, Al. May the airbrush be with you!

My whole theory on why our eyes go bad as we grow older is a Darwinian one. After all, when John and I take off our glasses, we look great, especially to each other. Those little sags and wrinkles and blemishes fade away into the Impressionist astigmatism of uncorrected vision. You look mah-vellous, dah-ling!

The Two of Swords in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck is portrayed as a woman seated with her back to a great body of water, holding two swords crossed in front of her and wearing a blindfold. Generally, the idea is being of two minds, holding two opposing thoughts up (for as long as those little arms will hold those swords) to keep conflict at bay and trying to keep from “stepping in it” in the great sea of emotion behind her. In a way, it’s an opposite of the RWS Justice card that weighs things carefully with eyes open, not our “blind justice” of law, but clear-eyed decision-making. Of course, if you’re going to make a decision, it helps if you can see the choices, so our friend in the Two of Swords must at the very least take off her blindfold.

In my case, is 3 or 4 better? Now 5 or 6? Try 5 again? Now 6? And at the end, the Good Humor Optometrist shows the final results.

“Here’s what you have been seeing,” and the screen shows a muddy grey against lighter muddy greys, some curves, some straight lines, something I could almost make out with a furious squint and a good imagination.

“And here’s what you’ll see with your new glasses!”

Wow! And no sparklies. I really have to get my eyes tested more than once every five years. I drove myself home, confident that everyone was going to get off the sidewalk in time for me to come by. Just two weeks and I’ll be able to see perhaps even you!

Best wishes.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Los Dos Oros

There’s a little convenience shop a couple of blocks from here called Los Dos Oros. I look at it and call it The Two of Pentacles. The Two will often have the freshest Serrano peppers and vine-grown tomatoes, essential ingredients in my home-made salsa. If I can’t get the short season heirloom tomatoes I love, large, party-colored and dead ripe, then The Two usually has tomatoes as good as any in town. And I want to keep the little place going. I miss neighborhood groceries and I want to keep this one in business. Tarot reader doth not live by salsa alone, of course, so I do have to shop other places for things not usually found in the bodega. Still, I get a kind of snuggly feeling that a place that helps me juggle my dietary needs—addictions?—is named like a Tarot card with a similar meaning.

I think there may be a point in the “total immersion” process where every Tarot student starts to see Tarot cards everywhere. Suddenly the 7 of Swords is dancing to “Hernando’s Hideaway.” The Thanksgiving Day parade starts to look like the 6 of Wands. Flashbacks of my homeless hero Alma appear to be the 9 of Wands, taking a break from the hardships of life while sitting on a bus stop bench. Children under the Christmas tree playing with the boxes as much as the toys that came in them show a happy 9 of Cups.

One of my friends, Donnaleigh de LaRose, posts images on Facebook and asks, “TarotPic Teaser: If this picture were a tarot card, which one would it be? What do you see?”

Participants look at the image and relate it to their understanding of Tarot and post their answers. I play along sometimes if the picture grabs me and I usually post why I think so. It isn’t to influence what the “right” answer “should” be. It’s just for fun. In the same way, though, that play is the work of children, these fun exercises are reinforcement for those eager to learn tarot.

A couple of other friends will occasionally post, “People. People people people. Not everything is a Tarot card!”

Silly experts, I think of them, gently, fondly, lovingly. They are just past the learning phase where everything suddenly becomes a world of pattern recognition. The students trip over their robes rushing to see the Yin and Yang and declare, “A-ha! The Lovers! Where one ends, the other begins! One completes the other but never becomes the other.” Yes, Grasshoppers. Soon they will understand that the pattern is within human intelligence, within the mind and connect, if they are fortunate, that the spirit of the pattern is what they have breathed on or at least the museum-quality glass that stands between them and the idea and ideal, between them and the essence of the archetype.

If my very advanced friends had not progressed beyond the thrill of discovery of pattern recognition, they would likely have been bombarded forever in the madness of meaning in everything. Some people get lost there. The people I am thinking of did not get lost, at least not for very long. They emerged with filters and understanding.

But I love the Tarot learners at the “collector” phase. Even if they are not collectors of decks, they are collectors of the sight of a concept portrayed another way, collectors of the enrichment of meaning, collectors of the correlation between symbol and definition.

In preparation for a road trip I want to take this year, I dragged out my books on Puebloan rock art. I have some favorite places to go, places where I could spend hours looking at the carvings made in the oxidation-varnished sandstone cliffs in the Four Corners area. I want to go to some other places with rock art, too. So much of the fun of travel is anticipation so one of the tasks will be mapping the route. But for now, I’m noodling into the details of the topic.

Since I’m a used bookstore hound, some of my texts on the topic are older, like F. A. Barnes’ Canyon Country Prehistoric Rock Art. My first impression is gratitude that I am not considered an expert in this topic and as such I will be at worst vilified for being unlearned. I’m grateful because, while this book has some wonderful photography of rock art in the Four Corners area and some good information about materials, I think Barnes himself is one rude dude. Intermixed with the really valuable information about what was known in 1982 about the people who lived in the area before the historic period (that’s, uh, the invasion of the people who were sure that their technology, intelligence and religion were much better than the people who were living there at the time) is something I feel liberated by my lack of standing and expertise to label as at the very least bad manners.

Barnes is democratic in his insults in the text. He insults amateur archaeologists, even those with extensive knowledge, along with the ancient peoples he studies. Distilling his thoughts, Barnes thinks we’re all stupid.

Per Barnes, the amateur archaeologists are stupid for trampling sites, pot-digging and collecting trophies, destroying the pristine areas so that real archaeologists have trouble making heads or tails of them. My own two gold coins come out at this point. I agree that stumbling into an archaeological site and messing it up is very disappointing. In fact, every archaeologist, amateur or otherwise, has likely destroyed wildly important evidence, microscopic and otherwise. So, F. A., pointing fingers at the enthusiast does seem to point those other fingers right back at you. Methods have changed since 1982 and I’ll bet you messed plenty of stuff up.

Worse than that, because we “advanced” people should be more responsible and can stand to be picked on by scientists our own size, roughly, Barnes then goes on to berate the people who seek to find meaning in the images carved on the rock walls. Not only is our New Age interpretation of the most innocent kind such as, “Oh, look! A frog!” and “Wow, I think they’re saying that up the river and close to the mountain range there are a lot of deer,” wrong-headed. It gets worse.

Ute Mountain Ute Tribal Park
(c) Copyright 2007 Marcia McCord
 Barnes says that since the designs are not lifelike representations of people, animals or anything else they carved into the walls, they were not the charming stylistic choices of a people who saw things a certain way. They are, according to Barnes, “bad artistry.” While it seems certain that the rock art, done over hundreds of years of occupation of the area, was done by adults, Barnes has concluded that they had a primitive, child-like intelligence. In short, they were stupid, too.

To which I say: Barnes, you meathead, you! How can you possibly say all these people are stupid? After all, you yourself call them “Anasazi,” a version of the Dine (Navajo) word for “ancient enemy.” Who on earth would call themselves Ancient Enemy? Your ancient enemy, maybe? (No insult to the Dine intended. Lovely people.)

Oh. I forgot. There are those computer games. I wonder what the archeologists will make of those?

While I’m not fighting with Barnes, his bad manners, misanthropy and obviously poor upbringing, I am getting a lot of information. Like the Two of Pentacles, you have to juggle the good with the bad and figure it out yourself.

Oooo, look! A Super Nova!

Best wishes!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Urge to Merge

2013 is numerically the year of The Lovers, traditionally number 6 in Tarot. I don’t want to spoil the romance for anyone, so I guess I won’t. If you have the opportunity to find the person of your dreams, go for it. The Rider-Waite-Smith deck is ablaze with symbols and has evolved from the older Marseilles-style depictions. The Lovers card is a good example of the changes in concepts depicted in Tarot. Despite the traditionally accepted concept of archetypes displayed in the major arcana, the ideas and situations shown in Lovers cards have changed over time.

I’m going to give those of you who need it just a little break to catch your breath. What?? Tarot card symbols aren’t timeless, unchanging and universal? Please have a seat just in case the shock is too much.

OK, so cards, those little things made of paper usually, not always, a handy size for the human hand, were made by people who lived in certain times and places and had their own cultural, geographical, spiritual, ethnic and other characteristics making up their context, their template of understanding. And with that background and expectation they created images on the little pieces of paper that were meaningful within their context. (Whew, and you guys think reading cards is mumbo-jumbo!!)

Basically, people only knew what they knew when they created the pictures that are on the cards we think of as the oldest Tarot cards. For instance, in 14th century northern Italian provinces, you would not expect to see people depicted using cell phones and computers and automobiles. When we see a picture of someone talking on a cell phone, we assume there’s someone else on another phone somewhere talking back. We think “communication.” Otherwise, without that understanding of context, you could just as easily assume that the person was holding a rather odd-looking rock to his or her jaw and conclude the topic was toothache. You might reach out in empathy, connecting your common experience and wonder if a rock like that could make your tooth feel better, too.

Just in case you’re feeling superior in the “that was then, this is now” scenario with all the benefits of knowing the outcomes of events in the past and how the world will change, that “hindsight is 20-20” thing doesn’t really hold up. Think about it: You are somehow transported to the past, not just the 1940’s and you know how the war will end, but much farther back. If you have half a brain, you’ll figure out that you are the one who talks funny, you are the one who doesn’t know what’s going on and while you may conclude that later in the 15th century some guy named Columbus will take three ships and land, vaguely, in a place we will call “America” you have no idea how to negotiate the simplest of life’s transactions. If you’re lucky, you’ll be considered backwards, but in the context of the times that classification is likely to get you poor treatment. You’ll be the equivalent of a wild animal or alien species to your fellow humans. And yet, you will have the urge to merge.

Or perhaps not. Perhaps you’ll choose to be a hermit, living a feral life. Again you may find out that simply hunting or foraging for food is considered stealing and you may be punished for that.

If it sounds like I’m against time-travel, I protest. Far from it! I think it is a “project” too expensive to pursue in our current times when so many other projects are more urgent. Secretly, though, I hope someone is working on it, in spite of the frivolous nature of the effort.

It’s not that I expect it all to have good outcomes. Somehow, I expect all explorations to have unforeseen ramifications like those described in one of my favorite books, The Sparrow by Maria Doria Russell. The smallest thing misunderstood may have wildly wide-reaching consequences. From Wikipedia, which some may consider a large source of misunderstandings: “A reviewer at the Library Journal felt that this book was mistakenly categorized as science fiction, and that it is really ‘a philosophical novel about the nature of good and evil and what happens when a man tries to do the right thing, for the right reasons and ends up causing incalculable harm’.”

While The Sparrow isn’t about time travel but about travel to an alien culture, we sometimes forget that in observing the imagery of people from the past, even what seems like the familiar past, is in many ways an alien culture. The space explorers knew they were meeting with creatures whose world is completely different from our own. In our own view of history, it’s too easy for us to place our expectations and understandings upon an image out of context and come up with a (probably) wrong conclusion.

For instance, in the petroglyphs in the American southwest, there are some (I have to say it) totally cool depictions of what we, in our experience of space exploration and science fiction movies, are pretty sure are people in space suits. They look a lot like Neil Armstrong taking one small step. But that’s because we’ve seen the images of astronauts and what they had to wear to breathe, etc and in looking at the bubble-headed people carved into the side of a sandstone cliff, we think, “Dude. Aliens.” That’s us coming up with that conclusion; the Puebloans very likely had something else completely different in mind.

Yet, misguided as we are, we have that urge to merge images into our understanding, experiences into our world. We have the urge to merge other people into our family of experience. The trait has all the elements of humanity. It’s a little sweet. It’s a little rude. It’s a little bit wise. It’s a little ignorant. It’s a little optimistic. It’s a little tragic.
Tea Tarot
(c) Copyright 2011 Marcia McCord

I love winter here because my cats love to snuggle in the winter. I think of their doting and purring and demands for lap or shoulder time as affection. In some ways it is affection from them, as long as you don’t inspect it too closely. Cats like a room temperature just a little warmer than the ideal for people, so when winter comes, they seek a little extra warmth. Because I prefer to view the world through my cat-lover’s template, I ignore the fact that they probably also love the heat register nearly as much as they do me. The advantage to coming to me is that I am softer and give better ear-rubs than the heat register, plus, due to my metabolism and theirs, my heat appears to be constant rather than periodic jets of warm air. The ramifications of my purposeful misunderstanding are minimal so I’m happy and the cats are happy.

In the year of the Lovers, we see our differences and how those differences can work together to complement each other. We may have to make difficult choices with long-lasting impacts. We may naively assume that we are in synch with each other when there are misunderstandings at the essence of meanings. Most importantly, we have the urge to resolve those issues and become closer. While all of this sounds very little like romance in what starts out to be a romantic topic, it serves to remind us that the urge to merge may have many motivations and in this year, we will be reminded of that.

Best wishes.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Looking Forward

One of the questions asked in a Tarot group on Facebook recently is, “Did you have a Tarot mentor?”

I didn’t. I was self-taught. I started out with regular playing cards when I was very young. We always had decks of regular cards. My family and I played card games on rainy days, weekends and holidays. We played many different variations of poker. We played rummy, Hearts, Spades, War, and countless variations of solitaire.

My mother liked card games, especially Blackjack. Years before I was born, my mother was a lieutenant in the Navy WAVES during World War II. She had been thrilled to be placed in the Navy’s cryptography section only to find the assignment crushingly boring! How could it be boring, I wanted to know? I loved puzzles. Think about having a job where you solved puzzles all day long! She patiently explained that since she was an officer, she wasn’t really allowed to solve the puzzles and crack the codes; she was charged with supervising other WAVES who were working on code breaking. Mom’s strong point was never people management, “soft skills,” and personnel work.

She put nearly all her wages during her stay in the Navy into U.S. Savings Bonds but kept just enough out for a vice or two. One of them was Blackjack. She was good at it. She won more often than she lost. I never credited her with having a “poker face” and silently speculated that her trim figure and excellent legs (which she selfishly did not pass along to me, darn it) served to distract her predominantly male Naval officer poker partners just enough to lose track of the count of cards. As she was able to tell the story and as evidenced by the matured savings bonds that she cashed in when I was six, she cleaned up at the poker table.

We learned Blackjack, 5 card stud, 7 card stud, Spit in the Ocean and a number of other poker games. She dutifully explained that there were people, usually people who were very strict about their religion, who felt playing poker was evil. Why, there were even those who thought card games of any sort were evil. They probably didn’t approve of dancing, either. She thought it might be that this kind of thinking could be more prevalent in smaller towns in the Midwest, like the one she and Daddy had grown up in. But she had seen the world, or at least most of the United States east of the Mississippi, and felt more sophisticated than that.

Cards weren't bad unless you cheated or somehow got lost in trying to win your money back and got deeper and deeper in the hole. But cards were just pieces of paper with numbers and pictures on them. And they were a great way to learn your numbers, especially in the late 1950’s. I was suddenly able to count to 21, 13 and 52, deal five and seven cards, and bid speculatively on my chances of winning. We used wooden matches for currency at first, then graduated to poker chips. We never bet real money. Who would do that?

They made fun of me for dealing “backwards” using my non-dominant left hand to distribute cards around our large, round, low round table in the family room. But I could hold my own in spite of being the youngest.

I was fascinated with the cards, the smooth linen finish, the complicated Bicycle pattern on the backs, the mirrored court cards, the pattern of the arrangement of pips, always showing that numbers were made of smaller numbers in smaller patterns. I started to find something more meaningful within the suits. I knew I should love the hearts best or perhaps the diamonds, since diamonds were my birth stone. And spades were “scary,” so gentle, rounded and handy at one end sharpening to a dangerous point at the other. But I liked clubs. I didn’t know why. And the queen of clubs was my favorite in the poker deck because she was smart, energetic and talkative, sociable. Why, she liked cats and dogs and would set up her veterinary clinic for teddy bears on the weekends. Somehow, the cards had a language of their own and I began reading cards and the stories they told there on that big round maple table.

Mom didn’t stop me. She didn’t mind. While she was a stickler for the concrete, a Doubting Thomas, a scary “spades” kind of person, her sharp mind and sharp tongue did not stifle my world of intuition and connections to other. She said she thought it might be genetic, since after all we had gypsy blood, Bohemian Gypsy. She said it with pride and a little defiance, as if it were something she could say at home with us but not aloud in the streets of her home town in the Midwest.

It was OK to be who you were. More than that, nothing ever diminishes you.

I knew it was different. I knew it wasn’t something most people would understand. After all, if my friend’s mother told me I was going to hell for mistakenly saying the wrong age on the Popeye Show, would I go deeper for reading cards? And it connected with the dreams and other experiences I had had since I could remember.

Then I found there were books, booklets, strange little papers that added to and validated what I had already picked up. My mother’s antique shop was a treasure chest of constantly changing reading material, my own personal random library of pulp and lore and leather bound gems. I soaked it up. I read palms. I studied ESP. I had dreams and interpreted. I picked up the rudiments of astrology. We moved to New Mexico and I burned through the entire metaphysical section of the public library. But I had no mentor. The more I learned, the better I became at it and the better I became, the more I understood it wasn’t something you talked about.

“Cindy!” I hissed into the phone I dragged into my bedroom closet one evening, the way teenage girls talk to their best friends. “I’ve met someone!”

In any other conversation, this would have meant A Boy, tall, dark and handsome or some combination of traits that paid attention to me. But this was different. I had met Mr. Schultz at the hospital. Mr. Schultz was a little older than my usual teenage idol, hovering somewhere around 70.

“He’s psychic, Cindy! He understands.” We made arrangements to meet Mr. Schultz the next weekend in the hospital coffee shop during break for the volunteers. We brought a map that Saturday and spread it out on the small table, the three of us, a white-haired angelic old man in a red volunteer’s coat and two wide-eyed teenagers at the beginning of everything.

“Yes,” he told Cindy, never taking his eyes off the map. “You will go to California and dance and meet your destiny.” Cindy’s eyes shone, her dreams certain. The trance-like concentration was catching, a lesson in scrying. He glanced up at me and smiled.

“You’ll go to California, too, but not the same place,” he breathed evenly, his eyes set like jewels in his pink cheeks.

“Yes,” I was suddenly in the zone and understood I had been there before, but suddenly aware of what it felt like. I moved my finger across the map from our tiny town in eastern New Mexico.

“But I have to go here first.” Without lifting my finger from the map, I dragged it to a place I had never been before.

“Fort Wayne, Indiana?” Cindy sputtered over the map, laughing, half in horror. I had to admit, it was a strange thing for me to say.

“Yes,” said Mr. Schultz. That was The Lesson. The 3 of Wands is called a “gating card” in Tarot because it points to the readiness and launch of a new project. The character in the card looks out to sea at the ships he has launched and his vision includes the understanding of the adventure that is yet unseen, just over the horizon.

Years later, while on the telephone company’s private jet on my way to an interview in Fort Wayne, Indiana, I remembered that day. Suddenly I didn’t care about the outcome of the interview. After all, I was going to California.
Best wishes.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year

The Mayan Apocalypse wasn’t a total bust. I had to get up early on Friday, December 21, 2012 to fill in for one of my east coast co-workers watching data update. If this sounds like watching paint dry, you’ve got the right idea. I’ve been fortunate to have few days in the last year or so where I had to get up before the birds, so I didn’t mind filling in for a couple of days to see the dawn and babysit batch.

Seeing the dawn was a fabulous treat, too. Not only do I miss it most days, but the Winter Solstice sunrise was a spectacular show. Usually mornings in northern California are foggy and grey, something like a soft flannel blanket covering the day so that we can adjust to things gradually. The cat still has all his stripes. My desk still needs to be cleaned off. You don’t want to be faced with every detail in sharp relief all at once. Usually, by the time you’ve had your second cup of coffee (preferably Peets or Thanksgiving Songbird coffee when I have coffee, but Starbucks in a pinch), you can see if there will be any blue sky showing through and perhaps a bit of afternoon sunshine. You don’t want to be ambushed by mornings in northern California. You want to get to know them gradually, like your mother told you about the guys you dated.

December 21, 2012 was hyped pretty heavily although most of what I saw was quite tongue-in-cheek. No one I know in the tarot or fringe communities I visit actually thought there were going to be asteroid attacks or other planet-ending events. We’ve all been shaken by recent events like the hurricane and the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy and the ensuing debate over whether it should be guns or mentally ill people who should be registered. I pray for kindness and relief of suffering, myself. It’s a small thing, my prayers, but in spite of their size relative to the issues, I still send them out.

In a Far Side kind of way, I wonder, if the dinosaurs had had adequate 4G connectivity, would they have been wiped out? So many people think that having advance notice of an event will help stave it off. That’s one of the hardest things about my work as a tarot reader. I have to explain that knowing things ahead of time may allow you to pack an umbrella, but it doesn’t stop the storm.

I don’t mean to say that having dawn break on Mayan Apocalypse day was a disappointment, either. I was happy it did but just about as happy as any other morning. The alarm sounded. I cursed my Blackberry for its cheeriness, grabbed it and tried to shut it off. It wanted my password, the new one I created yesterday. Fine time to ask me a question like that!

I realized that I didn’t have my glasses on so all the buttons looked like r’s, sort of. I groped the bedside avalanche for my glasses and after a few tries I found them. With the keyboard in better, not best focus, I turned off the alarm. Even though I knew the emails from the batch jobs I had to support at this uncivilized hour were not going to show up on the Small Screen, I looked, hoping something had changed technically that would allow me to stay under the layers of quilts and blankets next to the warm and fuzzy husband and dog who snored undisturbed by the alarm sounding.
Victorian Trade Card Tarot
(c) Copyright 2010 Marcia McCord

No. I had to get up and go into the office. At least it is just the room on the other side of the bathroom.

I don’t know about you, but when I get up in the morning, I’m a lot more like a typical northern California morning. I wake up gradually. First, there’s the fog thing. I mean between my ears. I get the thinking or speaking version of myself but not both. And then there’re the eyes. In spite of the assistance of corrective lenses, usually I get one eye to work while the other one sleeps in. It’s stuff like this that makes me completely against video-conferencing for work. I need to spare others the horror. When both eyes work, I may pass a mirror and realize my hair is a lop-sided Big Bird thing that won’t be tamed until gravity and some serious brushing or combing happens.

Padding into the office, I sat at my desk and looked at my laptop for those emails that won’t show up on the Blackberry. Batch was humming along, a little late but no worse than it has been for a month or so. Good. No work apocalypse either. I got sucked into the vortex of answering questions from east coast co-workers and then looked up.

The sky was red! I looked over at my home computer to watch any messages flying by there. A Facebook friend joked about the bright red sky, “It’s happening! It’s happ,” and simulated being cut off mid-syllable. There were responses about sneakers smoking with dry ice, corrections about rapture not being the same as The End. All the while, the sky was a glorious blaze as the sun came up.

This is unusual here. Granted, I do attempt to sleep through many a sunrise, but the ones I see are golden, not red. There’s the old rhyme, Red sky at morning, sailor take warning. Somehow, the sun sneaked a Pink Floyd-worthy laser show in under the cloudbank for us early birds.

“John, wake up,” I rushed in to make sure he didn’t miss the pretty sky. He wakes up in stages, too, and wandered into the kitchen.

“Wow, it’s red in here.” The kitchen has a lot of windows that let east and south sunlight in. I went back to my office to tend to the batch jobs, still humming along. I checked some reports. Yup, looks like sales data came in for the day. I looked out my office window.

“Oh, kitty!” I breathed to Tony who was purring on the desk, observing the vacant bird feeder and branches waving in the morning breeze.

“A rainbow!”

The red sky sunrise had caught the morning fog-drizzle at just the right angle to make a great rainbow to the west. It lasted so long that I wasn’t sure I was still awake. My friend Kaye posted some pictures from her house of the rainbow in all its colors. Good, I wasn’t dreaming after all. As quickly as it had appeared, the color faded and became a typical winter morning again.

The Wheel of Fortune in Tarot reminds us that no matter what we do, time keeps going, whirling us into the future. The old year is gone; the new one is ahead. The Mayan Long Count Calendar ran out and just as I told my friends so did my 2012 calendar. I’ve started my 2013 calendar and even have a booking for a tarot party! While the wheel of time keeps turning, there are special moments, special to you. Savor, cherish, indulge in the now of those moments. Each one is special. Each one is unique.

Even if each moment isn’t December 21, 2012 when the earth, the sun and the center of the Milky Way Galaxy line up in the great Galactic Alignment that the Mayans noted for this date, because they did get something astronomical astoundingly right with their Long Count (disputed, of course), you can line up your life to make the best of each moment for this coming year and years to come.

Best wishes!