Looking for Lucky Signs

#sol21- January 19, 2021

Is it just me or does everyone invent their own lucky signs?

Maybe it started in childhood- I spent A LOT of time waiting for my mom—she was always late, so I would look away from the road and make up a number. She would surely be there before the time x number of cars had passed me. I would dutifully count the passing cars and wait for the lucky time when my mom would arrive.

It evolved as I entered the work world and had to get myself places. The one summer I worked at McDonald’s (usually opening) I would pedal my bike down the hill and then look right. On the grassy edge of the busy road if I looked carefully I could often see rabbits munching away. It was a sign that it would be a great day if I saw more than x of them.

Later, when I lived in Mumbai I was fascinated by all the animal life I passed on the way to school. I would count the animals. Dogs and cats were everyday, as were goats and chickens. Cows, well they were sacred, so they often were in the middle of the road and could hold up traffic. It would be the sign of a really great day to come if I saw the elephants under the bridge. They made me smile.

In Berlin I took the subway to the bus and then had a walk up the hill to school. During the (way too long) winter months I carefully walked in the dark as I imagined breaking my leg in a ditch. I was also on high alert for wild boar. Happily most of the times I ran into them I was not alone, as they are big and not known for their gentle touch.

Here in Phnom Penh I travel by tuk tuk and love my commute because of the views I pass and those that pass me. This morning I, of course, saw cats and dogs (at my first apartment here I decided if I saw 14 dogs on the way to school it would be a good day). Throughout Southeast Asia I see chickens wandering freely, so there were many of them to ogle. They always seem so content. The animals I would rather not see are the captive (or dead) ones. A motorcycle zoomed by me with a bouquet of chickens- about 20 chickens head down all with their feet bound together in a small bunch. While they were alive-ish I knew what fate awaited them even if they did not. Although I did not see it today, it is also not unusual to see a pig carcass or two astride the back of a moto. I guess I can appreciate how fresh the meat is, but some things are better left unknown (or at least unseen from my perspective).

Once I set foot on the campus it is a nature wonderland and I am spoiled for choice- some days I can count the bird varieties, or I may choose butterflies. After a rain there are many worms to spy. Lizards and geckos often cross my path. I may have to step over huge cockroaches. If I wanted to walk to the field I could visit with our chickens or bees. Head the other way and I would be in the butterfly garden. It is a great reminder to me that I can sometimes make my own luck. If I can decide that I will have a good day if I see x number of whatever I can probably take care of that on my morning commute.

6 thoughts on “Looking for Lucky Signs

  1. I love how you wove this story across different times in your life using the threads of luck and transportation and most of all, animals. I found your settings so facinating because it is so different than my setting in Virginia, USA where I see squirrels and birds and sometimes a fox! Thanks for allowing me to explore with you. As I take my afternoon walk, I may start counting all I see inspired by you. Let’s both have lucky days today!!

  2. Erika,
    I just realized YOU wrote this!!! I had clicked quickly and started reading and wasn’t paying attention to WHO the author was. Now as I walk and count today, I’ll be thinking of YOU!!
    Have a great day today!!

  3. How fortunate that your mom’s bad habit caused something beautiful in you. Your careful observations were a pleasure to read this morning.

  4. Love this piece so much, Erika. Funny how you tie all your good luck to animal sightings, perhaps a sign with your desire to connect your fate to natural surroundings. Thanks so much for sharing this!

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