Red parasol

June 6, 2012

I have my grandmother’s curio cabinet.  A friend of mine who is a high-end antiques dealer has drooled over it, but my grandparents weren’t wealthy or anything.  They were NYC public school teachers, grew up in tenements on the Lower East Side, children of immigrants fleeing pogroms.  They did take trips on freighters and my grandmother kept illustrated journals of them,which have disappeared into my uncle’s side of the family.  The curio cabinet is filled primarily with souvenirs from their travels, though, and while they don’t speak the way my grandmother’s words would, they are important to me.

Yesterday I was noticing that the red shiny parasol of a Japanese figure had fallen over, and I carefully opened the curved glass to try to put it back.  Not easy with the orientation of the figure, and to change that orientation would mean to rearrange that whole shelf, and I suspect to remove some item permanently.  So I found another way to place the parasol.

Today’s mail included a National Geographic trip catalog, and on the cover is a red parasol.  This one is being held not awkwardly and by a monk barefoot in a lily pond in Burma with temples in the distance.  (There are elephants on the back cover, a large and beautiful family of them with a graceful blending of body part shapes in their congregation at some sort of watering hole.)

For me this is sweet synchronicity.  It also echos part of a spiritual story I know, how an ancient Japanese girl destroyed somehow was restored to life subsequently as the male spiritual adept she had even more anciently been.  Sweet.


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