Signals and Signs
Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness; So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak one another, Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence.
-Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
Tales of a Wayside Inn, pt.3.’The Theologian’s Tale: Elizabeth’.
In complex trains of thought signs are indispensable.
George Henry Lewes
When life is confusing and chaotic, we tend to look for signals and signs as navigational tools. Much like the seaman of old, we turn our glass to the sky or the horizon and peer into it looking for something that makes sense. Our external compass, usually a fairly reliable tool, begins to act quirky and things, in general, are just not what they appear to be.
Sailing through living is a puzzle. A constant plucking of pieces to see how and where they fit in the grand scheme of things. Often we find ourselves choosing pieces from a pile without the luxury of that wonderful picture of the finished puzzle. So every choice is a mystery. Each piece a clue to an absent and confusing finished product.
Signals and signs at least give us guidance during times of unrest and assure us of the enduring love and constancy of our universe. And there’s no better place to seek signs and signals than nature.
Look up into the night sky and notice the stars and constellations, but also delve into the in between blackness that lies underneath the bed of heaven. Sometimes signs are not so bright and evident, but are worth heeding just as much as something blatant. Pick up a stick and notice its gentle curves, colors and shape. Notice the notches in each twig. They’re nearly exactly the same space apart. Now is a great time to gather leaves. Each once is different; no two are alike in God’s grand scheme of creation.
Signals tell us fall is upon us and winter is not far behind. But signs also tell us, even in the depths of winter, spring will come again by evidence of tiny seeds and spores and bulbs.
Be watchful of signs and signals today. Whether in nature, life or dreams, they portend much, if we are wise enough to pay attention.