Friday, February 19, 2016


I came face-to-face with a powerful symbol on Dec. 23, 2010. This would have been shortly after my first experience with NaNoWriMo, where I had written 50,000 words—but had no novel.

I was up before 7 am and standing by my kitchen sink. In our Bishop Hill house this window faced south, so the sun was rising to my left and was partly blocked by the garage. It took a good bit of time for me to notice the brightly glowing clouds floating my way. It took a little more time to realize what I was seeing was definitely a cross made out of contrails. More time to think of how unusual it was to see only sections of contrails in this configuration. Still more time before the internal voice yelled, “Idiot—Take a photo! This is big.”

I got a series of photos before the cross drifted off towards Galva. (See Toward/Towards an Ending, April 24, 2015.)

Later on, I began to contemplate the meaning of this symbol. I was facing a new year filled with big changes for me: downsizing 24 years of my life, selling a home, leaving a very small community for a large city, and trying to move an elderly mother closer. All the kinds of things that raise one’s blood pressure and anxiety level.

I needed a positive symbol and latched onto this one. “Everything will work out and be FINE,” I told myself. “The cross shows me this.”

Some things worked out better than others during the next year. We got moved. We sold the house. The downsizing went well, but is still a bit of an ongoing process for me. I gradually got used to the big city. The hitch was my mom. She wasn’t about to move—and didn’t.

The point I want to make … don’t place too much faith in your interpretation of symbols. You may want them to mean one thing so much that you jump to conclusions. Life will continue in its own direction, at its own pace. We try our best to keep up.

How does this relate to my novel?

I’m using those cross photos in the book cover design and the headers for my author pages. Who knows, perhaps even a T-shirt. That will be their proper place.

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