Thursday, August 13, 2009

Heads or Tails



I made a lot of wishes last night, even though I didn't see a single shooting star. It was kind of cloudy, and too, Tennessee Avenue is lined with trees. The heavy leaf canopy obscures most of the sky during the summer. But I made the wishes anyway. Why not?

Blog friend Barbara Martin tells me that she doesn't do well with shooting stars, an interesting point of view, isn't it? Her comment made me think about this irony - classically, comets are "bad" luck, while meteor showers (caused by the earth moving through tail debris from comets) are "good" luck. How does that work?

I'm not sure how to tell the difference between "good" and "bad" under any circumstances, including luck. In fact, sometimes what looks like good luck turns out to be very bad luck, and vice versa, of course. I think of those stories about lottery winners whose lives go down the drain because all that money is not good for them. There are lots of stories about people who lose everything. Subsequently those losses turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to them. Does that make any sense? It's beyond me.

Yesterday, blog brother Merle Sneed told a great story about luck, good and bad, oh yeah. No one sees the world more clearly than he does; it's a story well worth reading and contemplating.

Luck is luck, good and bad, yes? Maybe luck is nothing more than a surprise, a circumstance in which something changes suddenly, as if from out of the nowhere. When we're "feeling lucky," we welcome the spinning wheel of Lady Fortuna. When we're not feeling so lucky, we close the curtains and hunker down, as Barbara Martin did last night. But what makes us feel lucky or unlucky? Do you know?

I think I heard this story from the fabulous Rabbi Manewith:

A father and his son owned a farm. They did not have many animals, but they did own a horse. One day the horse ran away. “How terrible, what bad luck,” said the neighbours. “Maybe,” replied the farmer.

Several weeks later the horse returned, bringing with him four wild mares. “What marvelous luck!” said the neighbours. “Maybe,” replied the farmer.

The son began to learn to ride the wild horses, but one day he was thrown and broke his leg. “What bad luck,” said the neighbours. “Maybe,” replied the farmer.

The next week the army came to the village to take all the young men to war. The farmer’s son was still disabled with his broken leg, so he was spared. “What good luck!” said the neighbours.

Maybe.


You tell me, what's good luck? What's bad luck? And more important, does anyone know if my wishes are going to come true? Well?

20 comments:

ellen abbott said...

Good and bad are definitely relative to the person experiencing it. And when a thing is good for one person, that very same thing may be bad for another so that the same thing or event is good and bad at the same time. I read somewhere that things we call bad are just things we don't fully understand at the time.

And I hope you get your wishes. However, be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.

sciencegirl said...

I'm with you, Reya, luck is all context. It's nice to have some, though: keeps our lives interesting.
That's a wonderful study in green!

Reya Mellicker said...

OMG Ellen you're right! Oops. Too late now.

Thanks, sciencegirl. The figs out in front of the house are almost ripe. Soon it will be time to duck and cover. They get really heavy and I swear they wait until I'm locking the front door to fall right onto my head.

Am I anthropomorphizing figs? Oh dear.

steven said...

hi reya, i think we're like the earth in the way we get hit by meteorites and pass through shooting stars. it's fortune. we carry the marks of some events and pass through with a glowing memory of others.
meteorites change the planet - they end things and begin things.
my body woke me at five this morning so i went outside and saw several shooting stars and got to spread wishes far and wide through their brief moment of glory. i hope that the wishes that are meant to come true for you do!! steven

Ronda Laveen said...

Oh, goodness! When I start thinking about the concepts of good, bad and wishes my brain starts chasing itself around like a dog and its tail. I'll be pondering all day now.

I enjoyed the Rabi's story. I've never read it before. Thanks.

Ronda Laveen said...

P.S. Merle Sneed's "lucy story" is hilarious.

Ronda Laveen said...

Drat! That comment should read "lucky."

mouse (aka kimy) said...

great post!!! I adore rabbi mainwith's story of course it reminds me of the famous shakespeare quote from hamlet "there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

gosh I fell behind on the gold puppy....caught up now, but the 64 thousand dollar question is should I update my blogroll to reflect the new name????

it is kind of sad not so see sweet jake. wah....

glnroz said...

good luck = "accidently" coming across this blog site.

Reya Mellicker said...

Ronda - Merle Sneed is a genius, sometimes hilarious, like today, sometimes so poignant that his posts bring tears to my eyes. One thing that's alwasy true about Merle's posts is they are REAL. He's real. LOVE MERLE SNEED!!

Peaches said...

Luck is subjective hindsight, but I like the concept of luck anyway.

lacochran said...

"My barn having burned to the ground, I can now see the moon"

:)

Luck is in the eye of the beholder.

Rain said...

Reya I do hope all your wishes come true! Actually I don't believe in luck, I believe in karma and intention! Cloudy skies last night darn it, I woke up at 1am then at 4am...no luck whatsoever! I did see the meteor shower last year though - wow, fabulous. I hope next August I'll have a telephoto lens so I can capture some of the magic! PS, thanks again and I posted your photo on my blog today!

Steve said...

The others have said it better than I could. Luck is, indeed, "subjective hindsight."

glnroz said...

Ms. Reya,
Thank you for your response today,,glenn

Merle Sneed said...

We have the misfortune of being the judges of what we think is good for us.

lakeviewer said...

Figs! I see figs. and they are good luck. We must accept what comes our way to discover the true meaning of good luck. If we accept, we see the patterns of our lives, the circles within circles that enrich us in small ways.

spottedwolf said...

"good and bad I define those terms...quite clear...no doubt....somehow....ahh but I was so much older then....I'm younger than that now"


Reya..you beautiful woman...we always get what we wish for..but most of us are too damn busy jumping from one thing to another in this industrialized version of life......to recognize our wish among all the extraneous attachments which emerge from our subconscious.

The Bug said...

I love Merle Sneed too - thanks for sending me his way (I checked out your blog roll).

Chris Wolf said...

my latest post ends with a luck sentiment, and I hadn't read anyone's blogs yet. perhaps this is just in the air. Best wishes, whatever that means...