Sunday, October 28, 2012

Through the Looking Glass: Three Odd Things















Every once in a while, life shows up with a word, a phrase, or an image, and a thread is established alongside the greater thread that takes me by surprise as it lays itself out there, as though it was there all along, I just hadn't yet seen it.  Several months ago, the word tangerine popped up and I wouldn't have paid a lot of attention except it's such a pretty word and I rarely hear it. I think it started with a song one of my sons sent me that he particularly liked at the time called, "Tangerine Sky," by the Kottonmouth Kings. It had a nice feel to it, a good beat, and I liked the words. Can you tell I grew up with American Bandstand?  Oddly enough, that was followed by another song that turned up in a roundabout way with the word 'tangerine' in it, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," by the Beatles:

Picture yourself in a boat on a river, 
with tangerine trees and marmalade skies. 
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly, 
a girl with kaleidoscope eyes.


I was always a big Sgt. Pepper fan, and who doesn't like the idea of tangerine trees?

At the time I didn't give it a lot of thought, but then it started showing up in other ways, all within the next couple of days. I'm not sure now what came next, but I think it was a poem sent to me via email by a friend, the poet, Jamie Ross, from his winter home in Mexico, where he closes the poem by mentioning tangerines.

That was followed by something on television. I don't watch much television, and I almost never turn it on during the daytime, but, on that day, I found myself turning it on. The Ellen DeGeneres show was in progress and she was doing some kind of routine involving hidden cameras, this one being in the "green room" (do they still call it that?) where the current celebrity who was going to appear was waiting. One of Ellen's aides came in with a bicycle and parked it there, then started a conversation with the celebrity, and no, I don't remember who, but he asked her what she thought of the bike and then asked, "What would you call the color?" It looked sort of red to me, maybe dark orange, but out popped "tangerine" from either the aide or the celebrity's mouth, I don't recall which one. I mean, who calls the color of a bicycle 'tangerine?'

Okay, I was starting to pay attention now. It usually takes three odd things to get me to do so. I noted it, marveled a bit at how the universe seems to operate, and off I went to run some errands, which included a stop at the bookstore, where I hoped to find a book of poetry that had piqued my curiosity. I didn't find that book, but I did find another, an anthology by Garrison Keillor of the Writer's Almanac, and so it came home with me instead. As I took it out of the bag and set it on the table, it fell open. And not just any old open. It fell open to a poem by Billy Collins, whose poetry I've long loved and it was a poem titled, "Fishing on the Susquehanna in July," which just happens to include these lines:

I have never been fishing on the Susquehanna
or on any river for that matter 
to be perfectly honest. 

Not in July or any month 
have I had the pleasure -- if it is a pleasure -- 
of fishing on the Susquehanna. 

I am more likely to be found 
in a quiet room like this one -- 
a painting of a woman on the wall, 

a bowl of tangerines on the table --


By then I was kind of getting used to the word 'tangerine' and it looked like it was going to stay around for a while. But, the next day it was gone and hasn't turned up since. Another interesting thing happened, though. On the same day I came back with the book of poetry, I thought about writing a post about this odd sequence of events and was going to title it exactly what I have. As I was telling a friend from Taos about it, including the possible title, I opened the book of poetry and found a book marker that the gal at the checkout counter had apparently slipped inside. On it was an image of Alice and friends in "Through the Looking Glass."

I can't pretend to know how the universe actually works, I just know it does, and sometimes it surprises me in the smallest ways that have no deeper meaning, other than to show how everything is connected. And then, sometimes, it shows me in ways that change my life forever.


Say goodbye, say goodbye to a tangerine sky,
say hello, say hello to tomorrow.
When you say goodbye to a tangerine sky,
you lose your pain, lose your fear, lose your sorrow.

~ "Tangerine Sky," by the Kottonmouth Kings




Painting by Justin Clements




25 comments:

  1. This is simply beautiful, Teresa. Elegant and well written. Things like this happen to me occasionally, and I note them, but it's rare that I am able to capture the essence of synchronous events as you have here. Everything you wrote resonates deeply within me. Thank you so much. I am feeling quite blessed right now. :-)

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    1. Thank you DJan, I'm so glad. It was a joy to remember and write.

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  2. I've had a similar experience. One day for no apparent reason I was thinking about one of my favorite authors, Edgar Allen Poe.
    Then later that day at the post office there was a display of a stamp of Edgar Allen Poe.
    Coincidence? Or was it something in the scope of "reality" reaching out to me in response to my thoughts?
    I wrote a post about this on my blog.
    A comment from my daughter about the post:
    The orange tic tac coincidence... some creep on the bus gives me orange tic tacs "you look like an orange tic tac girl.." and then I get in the car with you and you pull out orange tic tacs! I have not once in the past ten years bought any type of tic tac -- let alone orange ones.

    There were other incidences but this one came to mind.
    Have a good week Teresa. Halloween is this Wednesday!

    "All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream."
    ~Edgar Allen Poe

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    1. I don't believe it's ever coincidence, and I like your question about "reality" responding to your thoughts. Yes, I have looked at that possibility many times. I will look for your post. I also agree very much with Mr. Poe. My Kerouac quote at the top of my sidebar is also a succinct description of how I view "reality."

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  3. How masterfully you put this all together, Teresa, and how very aware you are of everything around you to have seen and felt and absorbed "tangerine" as you did. This was such an evocative post and I'm sure I will seeing tangerine more because of it.

    I would like Garrison Keillor's anthology. I read American Almanac most mornings, seeing what poem is present for the day. It almost always takes me somewhere else that I didn't know I needed to go.

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    1. Thank you, Penny. I have learned to become aware of my surroundings and to Listen, although I still need a lot of practice. There are three Writer's Almanac anthologies, the latest being, "Good Poems: American Places." I always like reading the others poems by the featured poet. It gives me a nice rounded view of their perspective.

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  4. I love it when synchronicity happens.

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    1. It really makes life interesting, doesn't it?

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  5. I think that the use of "tangerine" in lyrics is because it has better rhyme potential and better meter than "orange" which is a hard word to work with. There was a lovely old big-band pop song called, "Tangerine".

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  6. Ah! With random beads strung wistfully the Universe weaves a necklace of chance. Marvelous post! Warmed my heart. :)

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    1. Hey Rita! Well, we could use some heartwarming on this cold and slightly snowy day. Always good to hear from you!

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  7. Fantastic! Wishing you a beautiful week Teresa!
    xo Catherine

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    1. And a beautiful week to you, Catherine! Tell that Banjo to quit hogging the bed!

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  8. I laughed when I read this. Most people wouldn't have noticed these things. But people like you and me, well we are a horse of a different color!

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    1. Yes, we are, and ain't we got fun?!?

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    2. BTW, Bill: I know you're as prepared as you could possibly be, but stay safe and warm!

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  9. Teresa -- Your tangerine repetition is something akin to my notice of numbers in visual repetition. Always think it time to play the lottery when the same set of numbers keep turning up. I guess it would be difficult to do this with words:)-- Good post -- barbara

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    1. 222. They've been my numbers since second grade.

      Thanks, Barbara.

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  10. Tangerine. It is a delicously lyrical word.

    Lucy's tangerine trees come to mind when I hear it, but so do savoy truffles.

    Creme tangerine and montelimat
    A ginger sling with a pineapple heart
    A coffee dessert, yes, you know it's good news


    :)

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    1. Alright! Thanks for adding to the tangerine thread so deliciously. And a Good Morning to White Flint Farm!

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  11. Dear Teresa, I so enjoyed traveling with you along this tangerine thread. You used it to weave together a lovely posting that intrigued me with its synchronicity. You also, without trying to, encouraged me to be more aware of that which takes places around me. Usually I notice three occurrences. But your series seems pregnant with meaning to me. What meaning? I don't know. Maybe the writing about it so that all of us who read you become more aware. Peace.

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    1. Becoming more aware of our surroundings and of what is happening adds a wonderful dimension to life and I've often used it as a form of guidance. Useful information can arrive via these synchronicities and also loving affirmations.

      I hope everyone who reads this sees the potential in practicing this.

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