Did 10 miles on the towpath today; had been heading for the Crescent Trail, but took a turn at the last minute. Surprised to find easy parking at Old Angler, surprised to find the path deserted north of Great Falls, surprised at my respectable time. Bluebells all the way out and the wind behind me all the way back.
I'm in an odd dull place between any hurts, passions or obsessions. Paying work is only too happy to fill my every moment, and some of this packed-in-cotton feeling is the result of tamping myself down to meet the onslaught of relatives that has come my way in the past few weeks. If this keeps up, I'll have no choice but to become obscenely healthy and work on the novel. I'm tempted to do magic, just to see what spirit or spark or wave manifests, but with all the prosaic plodding, I don't have the time or the head space.
Besides, after a tarot reading I got recently at a witch event, I'm experimenting with not doing much intentional magic. It was a very intense reading with many scary cards (ever get the 9 of swords, the tower, the 5 of wands, the 7 of swords...I mean it was almost a parody!) but the reader couldn't have been kinder or more thoughtful about how he framed things. Nevertheless, what I was seeing--essentially, you will have no place to hide and every compromise and duct-tape solution you thought would hold is no longer viable--came through his words, and halfway through the reading I burst into tears, and kept on that track through the end.
But before that, there was the Fool. And here's how he described that card to me: You're used to thinking: There's something you want, so you choose the time and the accessories and the words carefully, and you create a ritual, and that's magic for you, right? Well, you're not going to need to do that anymore. See, the Fool is walking down the street, and he realizes he's hungry. And right up ahead, there's a hot dog vendor, and the Fool reaches into his pocket, and there's the money, just enough to get a hot dog. But it's only there when he needs it. If he's walking down the street and he's not hungry?--no hot dog, no money. That's the new way magic is going to work for you.
I've been testing the theory.
Right after the reading, I went into the ladies room and was wiping my eyes, and who should appear at the sink next to me but a woman, a writer and teacher who is pretty famous in witch world both for her work and because she is strikingly beautiful and charismatic. The last time I had seen her was 10 years ago in one of her classes, when I had burst into uncontrollable tears halfway through.
It made me laugh (not out loud). I said hi, and that I was looking forward to going to her class later. Then I wondered to myself if I sounded like some weird crying stalker. Then I blew my nose and went out and got some coffee. That's a fool for you.
I don't eat hot dogs, but I have a feeling a symbolic kind of hot dog might be just ahead.
"Symbolic kind of hot dog." That would be a good title.
Photo: Today's headline was written by Mr. Cole, the original big dark brooder.