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On some days the presence of Spirit rings clear even though one isn’t stretching out to feel it. At certain times of year, or under certain kinds of weather conditions, the frequency is just right somehow for one to be more easily aware of the unseen.  For me, this sometimes manifests as having one of those days where small occurrences happen that take on a portentous air.

As my boyfriend is out of town, this morning I walked to downtown Urbana to catch a bus to work. It was clear and crisp, with drifts of freshly fallen leaves crunching underfoot.  My route passed by Dodd’s Park, and I gazed into the clustered trees and over the sun-dappled grass to see if I could tell what area of that small public space housed a powerful presence that I have felt there on a few occasions. Perhaps the grove of old pines standing aloof to one edge of the park, or the ancient Ash that grows close by the street? I’ll have to meditate there and see what I can see.

A few blocks later, I found a crow. I’d just bent down to pick up a piece of litter, and within a few paces I saw the bird in some still-green grass near the sidewalk, in the front yard of a Duplex apartment that I believe to be unoccupied.  It was lying with its breast to the ground, wings slumped to either side, as if it had fallen asleep. Did it stir, or was that only the breeze through its feathers?

I brushed one wing gently with my fingertips, but the crow lay still and cold. It was only quite recently dead, it’s beady eye still bright and unclouded. Not a mark was on it, and it seemed to have been a young and healthy bird.

I wondered what to do. Gather it up and lay it in a nearby row of shrubs, so it wouldn’t be dumped into someone’s garbage? Carry it somewhere to be buried? But I had nothing to gather it up with but my hands, and I am not a bone collector, nor do I know the liturgies to speak to dead things for the release of their spirits. I left it where it was in the fine-leaved grass, feathers soft and perfect even in death. Perhaps I should have moved it, but I’m not sure what was best, if indeed anything at all.

There is an art gallery downtown, next to the bakery where I go every Saturday morning to get pastries to take to work. There are always wonderful and fantastical things in the windows, and today one caught my eye especially. She was a Witch.

A doll-like figure of clay and beads and wire, wild-haired, she held in one hand a flashlight and in the other a jointed salamander. I was immediately reminded of a vision I had received a year or two previous that involved salamanders having some important symbolism that I’m still not perfectly clear on. It has something to do with fire and the forging of metals and the smith’s art, of course, as well as something to do with the Dwarves.  In any case, here was this strange doll, which I could not help but think of as a Grandmother-Witch figure (Frau Holda? Is that you?), with a creature that I knew to be of importance in some manner. I studied her for a minute, softly said hello, and went on my way.

My bus arrived, and I went to work, thoroughly enmeshed in the everyday world. With these small vignettes of my morning’s walk, though, I think I was being shown something.  But what? I’ll see what some divination can tell me, and go from there.  And I’ll keep my eyes and ears open, of course, for this time of year it’s likely I’ll slip into the right frequency again soon, to hear what I need to hear and see what I need to see..

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