Friday, May 31, 2002

Now there are three
Last fall, I started noticing a lone blue heron, standing watch in the evenings along the edge of a pond adjacent to the building where I live. He was always alone, holding his own on the shadowy water's edge. (Somehow I thought of the heron as a "he," although he could just as well have been a she.) Our eyes would follow each other as I slowed my usual brisk pace, and he willed himself even more invisible among the reeds. Once I must have done something to make him feel threatened, because suddenly he took low flight over the still pond and disappeared into the dense brush. I haven't seen him since.

Several weeks ago, instead, a lone turtle sunned herself on the partially submerged log where the heron used to stand. The other day, there were three. Three turtles, the color of murky earth, all facing east, waiting. They are there every day now, at least they are when the geese take themselves over to pond on the other side of the building.

My mother marvels at the strong goose-sense of family. I watch them, too, the six fuzzy goslings and their ever-watchful parents. When they walk, one parent is always in front and the other behind; when they rest, the adult geese bookend their offspring, watching sternly while the little ones sleep. "We could learn a lot from watching animals," my mother says.

I recently finished reading a lovely little book, Any Small Thing Can Save You: A Bestiary. As I learned on's review, "Medieval bestiaries were compendiums of animal lore particularly descriptions of exotic and fantastic beasts as well as anthologies of moral instruction." This anthology of 26 vignettes, one for each letter of the alphabet, is a series of eloquent snapshots of the appearance of animals at subtly relevant times in the lives of various humans. It's like my witnessing the appearance of the three turtles just after Jeneane Sessum, Halley Suitt, and I held virtual hands and tried to bend the universe for RageBoy.

There is great significance to the number three, which is filled with magic and power. Triple spirals ..... are interdimensional symbols capable of parting time from space and allowing us to venture into other worlds and dimensions. Brigit, goddess of the fire and home hearth, is also the triple goddess. " Third time lucky," is a phrase well known even in our modern, western society.

And as for turtles, in Iroquois mythology, the turtle holds the earth up while sky woman rides safely on the turtle's back; the turtle has been a symbol for Mother Earth, for longevity, and for the awakening of heightened sensibilities.

Three turtles facing east. Three Wyrd (Blog) Sisters living in the east. Toil and trouble. And magic.