What could it mean? Two tales of pearls lost to nature, both of which I encountered within one day. A mystery. And an invitation?
As inspiration for some writing I’m working on, I’ve been reading elegies, poems of mourning for the lost or dead. The oldest one I found is by Sappho, who lived in the sixth century BCE. Other poets of notable elegies include Shelley, Milton, Katherine Philips, and W.H. Auden.
One poem that struck me was by an author whose name is unknown, but who is believed to have also been the author of the Sir Gawain tale of Arthurian literature. This unusual elegy mourns not a person but a pearl that the poet has lost in the grass and now mourns. At first, I thought maybe the pearl was a metaphor for something else, but, no, he really is mourning the loss of his pearl.
The next day, Boulevard Magazine arrived. An essay of mine appeared in Boulevard years ago, and Andy had a subscription which has not yet expired, three years after his death. As I flipped through the issue, the name Keuka Lake in one essay jumped out at me. This lake is about 40 miles from me, one of the New York Finger Lakes. (I live in Ithaca, at the southern tip of another Finger Lake, Cayuga.) Curious, I started reading. The essay begins with the story of the author’s grandmother losing her pearl ring in the lake.
Two stories of lost pearls in one 24-hour period. As a writer and a person intrigued with signs and symbols, I’ve been pondering this coincidence ever since. Or is it more than a coincidence? Could it, in fact, be synchronicity? C.J. Jung coined this term to mean “the coincidence in time of two or more causally unrelated events which have the same meaning”. The critical factor, I would add, is that these events must happen to the same person or group of people. It would not have been synchronicity event if Boulevard had arrived and I had never opened it and seen that essay.
Have I lost a pearl recently? Not a real pearl, certainly. A metaphorical pearl? Can’t think of one. Or must I now become willing to sacrifice a metaphorical pearl? And not just to any random person or spot, but specifically to nature.
One answer keeps recurring. I keep feeling the call to give up a bit of my very valued solitude and become more public with ceremonies and art events related to climate change. This shift has been on my mind for more than a year… and I keep postponing acting on it.
Or maybe these two lost-pearl events really were only a coincidence!