Day 92, with Many Yrs and Omens

I haven’t been talking much about my year omens here since arriving in Philadelphia, even though I’ve been doing them since leaving Houston. Part of it is because before, I would forget to blog. Another part of it is that it got repetitive. Butterfly, dragonfly, butterfly, dragonfly. Another part of it is that it felt self-indulgent, in the era of 44.5.

But yknow, this is a Time and a Half, and sometimes we need something small and wonderful to keep us going. So I offer this with the idea that it might be something that would lift your heart.

I was worried, this year, that not being able to go beyond my stoop during the day when people are around would mean this would be a mourning dove year, or a sparrow year, since I can see those through the window. Sure, I’ve had those before, no big deal. Butbutbut this is an iconic year, and I was hoping for something more interesting.

Cue clickbait title: “They never expected what happened next!”

Two pale lavender flowers from a leggy purple shamrock plant in a beige-pink pot


This purple shamrock/oxalis is only freaking four months old. I got the bulbs in February and planted them in early March.

My typical habit is that I wake up, I give the cats some kibble so they won’t wake up Jon, and then I open the curtain so that my pile-o-plants can get more sunlight. I hadn’t even NOTICED a bloom stalk on this baby, so I was shocked as hell to see it had bloomed.

And then it kept going. This was around noon.

WHERE did that other one on top come from?

I’ve never had a flower year, because really – when you’re going outside in late spring, who can tell which flowers or plants JUST kicked off? But this one, unfurling like whoa to greet me first thing in the morning?

I admit, folks, I fucking cried.

(When it comes to tears? Gods I’m easy.)

Here’s hoping that all my readers have amazing omens for the future to come. <3

My Butterfly Year

Monarch butterfly with wings together sits on a tree. Photo from right side.

Monarch perched on a young oak tree in Buffalo Bayou (note – this is not the butterfly I saw. the one I saw was on a beautiful Lantana.)

Yesterday, the first wildlife I saw was a butterfly!  Hurray, this means this is finally a butterfly year!

“What in the world are you talking about, Risa?” you might be asking. (Particularly those of you who didn’t know me in college.)

Since I was 25, my relationship with my spirituality has been more than a bit fraught. Before then, I was pretty clear that there was something beautiful going on in the world, and that I, and everyone/everything I knew, was a part of it. And so when I was in high school, on one of my birthdays I was walking out the door to catch a bus when a hummingbird whirred right in front of me, about 2 feet from my face, then whirred closer for about 5 heartbeats before whirring away. It was a really unusual interaction and, me being the tree-hugger I was, I took it to heart. That was my “omen” for my birthday, and I called the rest of that year my hummingbird year.

So began a regular thing I did: first animal or insect life I *interacted* with (that wasn’t a super-common interaction for humans, so no dogs or cats, no pigeons or rats in NYC, no mosquitos/fleas – you get the idea) was the icon for my year. Being at Sarah Lawrence took its toll – one year was a skunk year ;) But otherwise, I had some interesting stuff go on. I had a bear year, a cicada year (ugh!), a raven year… so it went.

After 25 I dropped this innocuous little thing I did because I was losing any kind of faith in a benevolent deity, and while this didn’t really have to do with deities I still connected it to my general “OMG something beautiful and coordinated is going on in the world.” Thus, out it went.

(Imagine a montage here of a LOT of life events. Or maybe just imagine a “calendar fluttering to now” animation – it’d be less painful.)

Recently I’d been bemoaning my lack of creativity and my inability to really connect to the old creative juices I used to have, so I wrote down all the things I used to do to refill my creative well. A lot of them were directly connected to what I used to do when I was flush with the feeling of involvement with something bigger than myself. One of those things was “connecting to my Year omens.”

So I figured – that’s a simple thing to reconnect with.

And additionally, I was kinda curious. Close to Buffalo Bayou there is a ton of wildlife to interact with. Lizards, grackles, mockingbirds, Muscovy ducks, and dragonflies are common as one wanders around here, and we’ve seen turtles, mourning doves, rabbits, snakes and gray and white cranes as well. The butterflies are hardly uncommon, but I’m semi-surprised I saw that Monarch before I saw a lizard, duck or grackle. It’s also kind of lovely synchronicity, because one of Jon’s co-workers got me a pretty kalanchoe plant as a “Get Well Soon” gift, and the motif on the pot?

It’s a butterfly. :)

A pale yellow metal pot with a butterfly cutout

Pale yellow scalloped pot with butterfly cutout

So hurrah, butterfly year!