Our beloved Bristol Renaissance Faire opened this weekend. Of course Hubby and I  went. As usual, we had a splendid time in our happy place beneath the oaks. We saw acts new and familiar, indulged in ice cream, and people watched. It’s always a little surprising to see a fellow faire-goer in a Federation uniform, but no judgement from us. OK, a couple of giggles. But no judgement. OK, maybe a little. You caught us.

Anyway, we had a good time. I made some purchases: two books, one about the history of the spice trade and the other about the history of jewels; the obligatory pair of earrings; and a badly needed new purse.

I was way overdue for one. Now that sunglasses are no longer an option due to light sensitivity and cataracts running in the family, I need a bigger purse to accommodate the case. The old purse fell apart, lining and outer layers of fabric parting company here and threadbare patches there. The new one is bigger with plenty of space for my phone, keys, glasses case, canine cleanup bags, and other items that fall into the black hole that every purse I own becomes. It’s handmade of corduroy with an up-cycled belt for a strap. The flap’s embellishments set it apart from mass produced bags. There’s a small strip of cotton eyelet, a small patch of green fabric, and an embossed leather patch.

The purse kept calling to me. In the shadows of the tent, the patch looked like an owl.

Owls are symbols of wisdom, of the crone goddesses who stand in their power by right of time and experience. My transition into that phase grows closer. Yes, I’ll take this one, please, as a reminder of what is to come.

The next morning I transferred the essentials from the old purse into the new one before picking up Oakley from his happy place, sleepover camp at Ms. Lanette’s. I brought him home, then dropped my purse on the dinette table as I usually do.

Over lunch, Hubby stared at it. “It’s spooky,” he said. I had to get something from the fridge, and en route I stood behind him to see what he saw. From his angle and due to the lighting, the patch resembled a skull not unlike a the ones found on pirate flags or the others decorating Halloween and Dia de los Muertos celebrations.

I paused.  I conceded that from that angle it looked a little spooky, but reminded him that it looked like an owl from other angles. He continued to eat lunch so it couldn’t have been that unsettling to him.

To me, it was.

Owl=cronehood. Wisdom.

Skull=death, passages, rebirth.

Perhaps it came down to a question in perspective. Not only from the point of view and lay of the light, but from life experience and one’s unique life lenses. Hubby is, was, and always will be an engineer, retirement be damned. He embodies the phrase “it is what it is.” No hidden meanings, no symbolism.  I am, was, and always will be a mythical, metaphorical student of Carl Jung. Everything is a metaphor, a symbol of some aspect of the human psyche, of the soul and spirit.

Was the innocuous leather patch a sign of some kind? Perhaps a reminder that I’m being birthed into the next stage of my life, that my middle years are limited and that I have no more time time to let the grass grow under my feet, to get busy taking steps towards the multitude of projects planned in my head. A message that I move into the autumn years? That I have fewer days ahead than behind me?

Yes, that.

A small chill ran through me.

How can I put my wisdom to work? I let that simmer in the back of my mind as I started on the spice trade book that afternoon.

Maybe sitting down, creating a new life list and vision board is in order.

Or maybe putting Oakley on his tie out line so I can freely putter in the garden, waking up a little earlier to do yoga and meditate, staying off social media to honor my creative voice, those are in order.

Perhaps it’s a combination of both, a meeting in the middle.

In any event, the patch on the purse serves as a daily reminder.




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