Monday, 30 March 2015

Pterodactyl update

On silent prehistoric wings, he swooped past the moon and flitted between stars. Owls watched him with bemusement. Bats scattered in terror.

Pterodactylus belovedus.
He'd been to Tierra del Fuego and Greenland; he'd been from Bali to Siberia and back again. 

He'd had the best wasabi in the world a hundred times over, and luxuriated in the heady, soaring freedom of being a free bird on the road. 

But he missed his girl. Nothing compared to his girl.

And so he followed the juniper shadows until he found her. 

The night before the morning he landed, she was too preoccupied to see his pterodactyl-shaped shadow over the moon.  

Her sister saw it. Her sister saw him flit from juniper to juniper. Her sister saw him peering in the window anxiously. 

Usually lost things are just plain lost. Usually one has to take solice in such aggravating sentiments as "there's always another pterodactyl in the sea." 

But on some glorious, unusual occasions lost things are found with a little help from the universe and Amazon. 

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Pterodactyls love wasabi

Last summer, I had to organize a hasty exit from a remote location. Well-planned moves involve loss and breakage. Hasty cow field moves even more so.

My daughter Ana packed up a much beloved stuffed pterodactyl. She diligently checked on his welfare throughout moving day.

She promised to meet him on the other side of the move.

I've always been proud of the high degree of compassion and pastoral care Ana exercises with toys and humans, which is why it was so devastating to unpack the last box and discover that pterodactyl had gone missing.

The loss of pterodactyl was deep and painful. His ghost persists.

A recent bedtime mention of his name brought her to tears. As I held her in my arms, wishing for all the world that my daughter never had to suffer loss, a story bubbled up from deep inside me and sprang from my lips.

Pterodactyl was not in fact lost! Not all who wander are, right? Nor had Pterodactyl been adopted by the new family who now lived in our old home.

Pterodactyl had done a marvellous thing. He had taken the crater upheaval moment as a wake-up call and a beautiful opportunity.

Pterodactyl had taken wing, with a vow to explore the world.

Why, at just that moment he was in the Caribbean, landing on gruff, tough pirates' shoulders and completely freaking them out by screaming: "Pollydactyl want a cracker!!!"

Beyond crackers, what Pterodactyl really was searching for was wasabi. The best wasabi ever. And tons of it.

Why wasabi? Why not?!

One of Ana's favorite books is "Dragons Love Tacos." Perhaps this is where the idea came from.
Off to Tanzania!
Regardless, wasabe became the magical word that turned tears into laughter.

And so night after night, my daughters snug in bed, we discuss Pterodactyl's whereabouts.

He is quite well-travelled. He has been to Greenland and Antarctica. He is running out of options, and may have to go to space.

I can see Pterodactyl's ghost on my daughter's shoulder. I wish there wasn't a pterodactyl-shaped hole in her life, but I don't have the power to stop it.

And this is one of my own pterodactyls. I wanted a perfect childhood for my kids. Only joy and never sorrow. That utopian pterodactyl has flown. You can see it's ghost on my shoulder.

We all have lost pterodactyls. No matter how deeply we bury their memory, they are part of us. Spiritual survival is learning to accept the gone-ness of our pterodactyls while retaining the inner core of joy that is our pterodactyl-proof birthright.

"When pigs fly" has always struck me as an odd saying, because pigs fly all the time (they fly business). But what about when life's pterodactyls take wing? Where do they go?

I suspect that the rare prodigal pterodactyl returns, laden with offerings of worldly wasabi and the sorrow of experience. Perhaps life is richer for wandering and losing.

Not all pterodactyls who wander are lost.