Thursday, September 12, 2013

Soul Salamanders


Salamanders. That’s the sign, apparently.

The other day a friend of mine posted on Facebook that she had seen a higher number of salamanders than in years past. Specifically, she asked what people knew about “water mud dogs” and predicting the weather. This, of course, caught my attention. I’d never heard of a “water mud dog”. Fortunately, she clarified they weren't dogs at all but rather salamanders. I didn’t realize that their appearance was associated with weather patterns. Actually, I didn’t realize we had salamanders at all where we live.

Sure enough, a follow-up comment she received echoed her prediction. “They were so thick in the summer of ’07 we couldn’t open our door.” I cringed. That's nasty.

Turns out the winter of 07-08 was legendary for the amount of snow fall we received. It was so harsh the Colorado Division of Wildlife ended up dropping food for elk and deer to help them survive the winter. Even with those efforts large amounts died, unable to forage for their food beneath the huge layer of snow.

Another commenter asked if anyone else had noticed the high amount of mosquitoes towards the end of summer. They were, the responder pointed out, conspicuously absent during the early months. Surely this was yet another sign pointing towards a long winter with piles of snow.

Even the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a snowy winter this year. But they don’t rely on just any ol’ signs, but depend on a carefully guarded secret formula, locked in a calculator, known only by one mystery person. The formula involves things like sunspots, moon phases and tidal action. 

In spring, as the winter thaws, locals point to the nearby mountain tops with their layers of snow, predicting the winds by the amount of white stuff still on the peaks. The more snow, the windier it will be. The afternoon winds die down when the snow melts, so they say. There might be some kind of scientific validity to this prediction, I'm not sure. 

I’m a big believer in signs or at least I like to think they really do exist. Sometimes, when I’m struggling with a big decision or problem, I like to treat the common objects in life like my own personal Magic 8 Ball. Like, for example, three years ago when I was struggling to make a decision about quitting my full-time career. I used to put all kinds of, what church folks call "fleece", before God. "Now God, I really want to do the right thing. If you are all right with my quitting, show me a sign. Like," I paused and looked around. "How about that traffic light turns red just as I come up to it."

Of course it stayed green. I'm pretty sure signs don't work that way.

I like to ask for falling star signs too, one streaking flash in a great, big sky dotted with sparkling and shimmering lights--  just for me. I rarely get that one either. I know. I know. The cosmos isn't a crystal ball at my command.

Mostly I think signs are more subtle, kind of like turning lights on a car, just giving us a slight hint that there's going to be a change in direction, maybe a closed door where we sought an opportunity or an open door that leads to an experience we didn't anticipate. Or maybe a flash of an idea or inspiration when we least expect it. Still, sometimes I long for something flashy, obvious and directive.

I think what I really want are a few soul salamanders.






15 comments:

  1. I do believe in natural predictors so I'd prepare for a long winter. I do agree though, that a few soul salamanders would make life so much easier. Of course. I also believe that some signs are there for us too. We just have to slow down and pay attention. They're not loud or obnoxious and so it's very easy to let life roll us right on past them.

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  2. If you don't mind, I would like for you to keep the huge snowfall totals to yourself this winter. Of course, if that means that we will be receiving lots of ice, I would be glad to take some of that snow off of your hands. After all, it would only be fair.

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    1. We actually need a big winter. We were dry earlier this summer (hard to believe with Colorado floods in the news now). Our lake is low-- a good winter would build that back up. Besides, I didn't break out the cross country skis once last winter. That's got to change!

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  3. I'm all for a flashy, obvious sign too.

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    1. I attribute that to my stubborn nature. I need flashing lights.

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  4. I wonder how many bugs and other creatures have expressed that there have been a change and growth in human activity! Maybe they see it as a sign to do something different themselves, which in turn gets our attention. hmmm. Maybe a story in development? Writer’s Mark

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    1. Oooo there you go Nancy-- your next novel in the making.

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  5. I gave up on signs (fate or whatever you want to call it) a while ago. I still trust my gut, though.

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    1. I haven't quite given up, but I have changed my idea of what they may look like. Trusting your gut is good, at least I think so!

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  6. I believe in signs and try to stay open and aware so I don't miss any. Have you read Alex Marcoux's "Lifesigns: Tapping the Power of Synchronicity, Serendipity and Miracles?" It's worth a look.

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    1. No I hadn't heard of this book, but it's exactly what I'm talking about. It's on my "to read" list now. Thank you!

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  7. Julie,

    What a nice post! I don't know how this slipped by me for so long...I kept seeing that you had one in my reader, but thought it was a different one I had read and commented through my email. Anyhoo...I never like to miss your stuff.

    I'm big on symbols and signs. I remember in Bruce Almighty how he asked for a sign...God was giving him boatloads of them, yet he still couldn't see.

    And if worse comes to worse, look up "salamander recipes" on Google. Uck...so thick you couldn't open the door. Shudder.

    M.L. Swift, Writer

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    1. Hi Mike-- please never worry about making it to every post-- it's never my expectation.

      I am big on signs too, but fear I'm not always aware enough to see them or keep my heart open enough to receive them. That's the goal.

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  8. Hey, I can’t find an email address. Can you email me so I can ask a question?
    –Shaye
    shayewalsh1@gmail.com

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