This is a hard one to transmit with a photo, but the leaves on this tree are blowing in a particular way. Can you see how a lot of them are being blown upside down, so you can see their undersides? When I was growing up someone taught me that that is a sign of bad weather coming in. It's another gray, thick sky. A lot of leaves are showing their undersides this morning.
I have been thinking about the phenomenon of reading of signs lately. Once again, I am inspired by my dogs.
The other day I sat at the computer in the afternoon. I thought, maybe I'll take the dogs for a walk. Now, I get up and down from the computer many times in a day - use the bathroom, get some food, make a phone call, go upstairs. This time I got up, used the bathroom, and when I emerged, the dogs danced at my feet in waggy expectation. How did they know?
I have no illusions about dogs reading my mind. If they could read my mind, I am quite sure that they would not get it. What they read beautifully are non-verbal clues that I don't even realize I am giving. I must have a pattern, a way of moving, a kind of look about me that generally precedes an outing.
When it comes to humans, some people are pretty good at detecting those non-verbal clues. Many detect them only in an unconscious way, and a third set remain entirely clueless. Part of the problem is our overlay of imagination, suspicion, fear, and superstition - often followed by an intellectual analysis that attempts to deconstruct our own imaginings. It's no wonder we second guess ourselves all the time. Our minds are so inventive that they often obstruct our instincts.
Reading each other, too, is challenging because we are performers. Most animals can't pretend. If a dog is angry or fearful it's not hard to notice. If they are happy, that tail wags no matter how they try to restrain it. I have often felt the world would be a better place if humans had tails. Then you would know when to approach and when to stay the hell away.
Part of the trick is to do two things: 1. Open your mind to it 2. Trust your intuition
When you meet some people, their charisma fills a room. They have that je ne sais quoi, something you can't put your finger on, but you feel it in their presence. Other times someone makes you squirm with discomfort. There must be ways to learn how to read people scientifically, but really, most people have the innate ability to sense things if they just turn on their antennae. We have the ability, I believe, to recognize signs in each other, lack of tails notwithstanding.
Reading the natural world is not unlike reading other mammals. It is something we were born to do, but modern society has diluted our abilities. I read about an old islander in the Pacific who navigated 1000 miles of open sea in a canoe, just by reaching his hand in the water and feeling the currents. And there was that community of people on an island in the far east who fled in anticipation of the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. They knew, somehow, and all survived.
It is a lot darker now at 6:18 than it was when I was out walking at dawn. Something is in the air. It's not always that hard to read.