I had one of those experiences last week that sometimes make me feel that the Universe is still watching over me.
I was driving down the road and saw a little sign for a Consignment Shop. Don’t know why, but I suddenly felt the overwhelming urge to stop, so I did. Parked, paid the meter, went inside.
It was a crappy little place on Broadway, everything in it looked frumpy or too old or polyester-ish–nothing I would wear. But I walked to a rack at the back and found a single lonely stand of fall and winter coats, and my new trench coat was waiting for me.
The coat is big, even on me. A weird grey-green color, slate grey mixed with that dark blue-green that thunder clouds can get when a storm comes at nightfall. It’s a duster cut from a thin water-proof insulating fabric, light but keeps you warm and dry, with broad padded shoulders to square out my already big frame and the hanging back flap of the classic duster tailoring. Falls to just below mid-calf, belt set exactly at the narrowest point of my waist.
I knew I was going to buy it before I tried it on, however, because I could already see the back panel that would hang down over my shoulder blades. And there was a very faint, but very beautifully rendered hand-painted scene there of a wolf mother and her two cubs.
I tried it on anyway, and felt rather than saw how well it suited me, how flattering it was to my figure and how well it would cover me, even in heavy clothes. So I bought it (for less than 85 bucks)…and there at the counter, the clerk pointed out to me the faint images that seemed to emerge from the fabric as I looked, the faded hand-painted wolves that had been rendered on the shoulder, the front.
The following day I went to the craft store and picked up a few sharpie markers and fabric paint pens to touch up the wolves and rescue the hand-painted images of the coat from fading completely. And as I examined the coat closely, restoring the wet black of muzzles, the brown of a tail-tip or a flank, the white tufts of hair and the glowing bronze of the eyes…I found more wolves.
The mother and her two cubs are on the back flap. A single cub curls sleeping just below the shoulder in front. The mother wolf standing alone occupies a large part of the left front panel below the waist. And guarding my back is the biggest of them all, the golden-eyed male, who had been so faded that he was nearly an invisible shadow on the fabric, but is now clearly visible again, as if the coat were a photograph that hadn’t fully developed.
The duster is just a duster, of course, a material thing is just a material thing, and a coincidence is just a coincidence.
And magic is just magic.
I will probably take some photos of the coat and its paintings eventually, but I doubt any still image will capture the way they feel to me, how alive they seem or how happy the coat makes me (even though it’s warm, and I never need warm coats in winter!).
There are times when I feel as if there really is a benign message from the Powers That Be, whatever they are (or aren’t).
This was one of those times.
It’s been a very hard year so far. I’ve been in a lot of pain. But…I think I’m going to be ok. 🙂