Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer

I am superstitious. I don’t want to be. I try not to be–but I am. I suppose it stems from anxiety and insecurity. My locus of control is probably a little more external than I’d like to admit. I see signs everywhere and I let them guide me more often than I should. I used to rely on my gut and trust my instincts more but my gut has been a little out of whack lately. The world is out of whack so I can’t find my center. I am all over the place these days and change my mind about things a dozen times a day so I cling to silly superstitions and look, a little too desperately, for signs. This is probably stupid and dangerous –but it’s fun to explore as an artist. There is inspiration and fodder here for new work!

This past week, I’ve seen and heard things that have definitely made my silly head spin a little. I have been hearing coyotes and owls at night and screaming hawks by day. I have seen coyote scat full of fur on the road and I’ve found two bone filled owl pellets. I found the rabbit’s tail in the woods I showed you in yesterday’s blog post. I don’t quite know why that felt like a sign but it did. It felt like a warning. All day I was hoping the rabbit got away and that the loss of the tail may have been a small price to pay. What I found in the woods may have been a sign that the rabbit survived! Right? I don’t know. Just knowing there was a chance, made me scoop up the rabbit’s tail and spend the day reading fairy tails about rabbits and looking for signs. The rabbit probably didn’t survive but I honored the poor little guy by reading rabbit stories all day.

I swear I moved through the entire day looking over my shoulder waiting for a predator to grab me from behind too. I felt a little defensive and unsteady yesterday. Late in the afternoon I discovered that several unauthorized charges had been made on my debit card. I spent the afternoon zooming through rush hour traffic like that silly rabbit in Alice in Wonderland just to get to the bank before they closed so I could file a dispute, close my account and get a new card before any more damage could be done. I felt very rabbity yesterday. I don’t like feeling like a rabbit.

I also found 2 newspapers on a closet shelf in the studio-to-be. One was from my birth year and the other from my husband’s birth year. They are brittle and dusty but I am looking forward to gently opening up those pages to see what stories have been resting on that shelf for all of these years. More signs? It felt like a positive sign at first–a connection to my life saying I was in the right place or on the right path. But since I was in a cranky rabbity mood all day, I also thought it might be my husband shaking his head at my crazy new adventure from the great rabbity beyond. He was born in the year of the rabbit. I know. I am stretching. I can’t stop connecting the dots though. There is a strange constellation forming in my head. I used to have three pet rabbits and they all died the same year as my husband. Rabbits have been haunting me a little these past couple of years. So, finding a rabbit’s tail and a paper from his birth year on the same day feels–well–like something.

This morning, leap day morning, I saw 2 owls in a tree when I opened my bedroom door to let the dogs out. I heard them calling all night. They even woke me up a couple of times. I am assuming it was a mating pair. They both looked right at me and then dove off of the branch where they were perched and flew away. They looked like one big two headed and four winged bird as they disappeared behind the giant pink saucer magnolia cloud in my back garden. I can still hear them out there now but I can’t see them for the big pink flower petal cloud. What the heck are they trying to tell me!? There will be art made with owls and pink clouds down the road. You can count on that. It was a beautiful and spooky way to start my day.

I know these things don’t really mean anything but they do make me stop in my tracks when they appear. I take any weird or interesting occurrence to mean I should stop where I am standing and assess my situation and reconsider positions and intentions. That can’t be bad, I guess. It’s no worse than reading my horoscope, right? Sometimes these events give me great boosts of confidence and I move through an entire day sure footed and clear headed. I need more days like that! Sometimes they make me sick with doubt and worry. Don’t need any more days like that.

The night I decided to make a second offer to buy the Ghost House studio, I heard foxes gekkering in the woods as I was drifting off to sleep. Because I haven’t heard the foxes in a few years and have missed them terribly, I took that as a very, very positive sign. I was elated all day the next day and felt strong in my conviction to buy the tumbledown house everyone else seemed to think I was crazy for wanting. Those weird little fox screams boosted me up in a way that I am almost embarrassed to admit–and I got the house this time! I have the deed in hand this time. The house is mine and the foxes somehow helped me get that little slip of paper that says so. I can go ahead and build my studio now. I know that couldn’t possibly make sense to anyone but me but it makes me terribly happy. And funny thing?! There are holes dug in the garage floor that I believe were made by foxes and their little footprints were in the house when I first opened it up. I believe their feistiness is in the bones of that little house.

Yesterday, as I was unlocking the front door to enter the house, I saw a Phoebe fly through the main room and exit out the side window. There is something there! The Phoebe is a symbol of resilience, according to several sources I scanned. I also found one web site that said the flycatcher family is known for its own symbolism and I love flycatchers. Apparently, according to a couple of sources they are known for diverting and deceiving enemies. Connect the Phoebe dot to the rabbit tail dot in my constellation story. And who caught the rabbit? The owl or the fox? I am sure there are dots to connect there too.

The weirdest sign I have to tell about is a pig’s foot! It was creepy and probably robbed from a trash bin by a dog or coyote, and was just lying there at the base of a tree all pink and shiny and startling. If you do a google search pig feet and symbolism, a few references to dark voodoo rituals pop up. Eek! Of course, there are also several essays on symbolism out there that say the interpretation of symbols, like pig’s feet, is subjective relying on personal beliefs so ya know–grain of salt and all that. Right? I mean I know this is all subjective –but still, how often do you find a pig’s foot in your yard? My belief, by the way, is that a dog or a coyote dragged that gnarly, knobby pink foot out of a trash bin after my neighbor’s barbecue and brought it into my yard and nothing more–but I can’t quite let it go. Have you ever seen the bones of a pigs foot? It’s memorable.

The Southern new year’s tradition of adding pork to the greens cooked on new year’s days came to mind when I found that foot. I started wondering who and why pig’s feet were eaten by anyone. No disrespect to anyone that likes them but I don’t think I could bring myself to eat one. I looked up pig foot dishes and customs and I read that adding pork, specifically pigs feet, to a recipe might be because pigs are always rooting in the ground and pushing forward which is the same direction you should go in the new year. Um Okay. I found something about Taiwanese daughters making pig trotter soup for their aging parents on leap days too to bring them strength, good health and luck because of the belief that a lot of elderly people die on leap years. Yikes! Eat up old folks! I am definitely not going to start eating pig’s feet but since I was gifted one (if you can call a wild thing dropping it in the yard a gift), I am latching onto this interpretation. I am going to take this foot to mean I gotta keep rooting in the dirt and moving forward. Oh, and a funny but notable coincidence is that the contractor that came to talk to me about fixing up my studio told a story about buying pigs for his kids for a 4H project yesterday. That’s gotta be some kind of sign right?

And of course, I have been singing Gimme a Pigfoot and a Bottle of Beer ever since I found that weird thing in the woods behind my little ghosty studio.

I have been trying to write this essay all day. I can’t seem to make it pretty. I am posting it anyway.

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