I prepared this morning for flying to Winnipeg by putting on my own version of war-paint, my own special talismans.
I took out my crystal ear studs, and replaced them with the dark grey fresh-water pearls my daddy bought me for my 18th birthday. Every time I shook my head, or craned my neck, or even laughed loudly they swung below my ear lobes and touched the side of my neck, reminding me that they were there.
I removed my flattened bottle cap necklace from Christina Lake and slung my silver St. Christopher medallion around my head instead. My sister and I had made matching necklaces, extra long to hide under our shirts, and we each had attached an anchor charm to the medallion to symbolize hope, steadfastness, and to remind us of the sea and where we had been born. St. Christopher of course is the patron saint of travellers, and even though we aren't Catholic it's nice to have something to hold on to in the wary, uncertain hours of voyages and adventuring.
Around my wrist I refastened the thin, delicate silver bracelet my mother had given me, which I had taken off for the first time in years when we were working with clay in sculpture class, because the clay kept on getting caught in the clasp and dulling the metal. This was the bracelet that Chris Barlow had always commented on when we were travelling through Turkey, singing that Bob Dylan song, Shelter From the Storm:
"Suddenly I turned around and she was standing there
With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair.
She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns,
'Come in', she said
'I'll give you shelter from the storm.'"
And of course, on my finger was my brass interlocking ring that matched with the one K has, from the art gallery in Grand Forks that we had bought a year and a half ago. I only removed that ring for baking and working with clay. Even on excavations I left it on.
Each piece of jewellery meant something special to me, reminded me of those I loved best, and those who had loved me unconditionally. They reminded me that I was who I was, and it couldn't be helped, and to be strong, courageous, and have a backbone, and that the right things to do were often the the very hardest.
They will continue to remind me this week to not take the easy way out, to value myself, and when it hurts to pick myself back up and say quietly, hey world, I am pretty fantastically special and I am going to have a fantastically unconventional life.
I just wish I had one piece that would make me laugh and remind me to not take myself so seriously. To remind me that this too shall pass, and to have patience, and a sense of humour. I will maybe draw something on the back of my hand. That might help. And with laughter, you don't need luck. Though in my case, I would like as much as I can possibly get of both for this week. Please.