Thursday, June 24, 2010


As I drove through the underpass, the dark mass swooped in front of my truck. I pressed the brakes quickly, watching the huge bird land on the roof of the local brick company building . Traffic came to a sudden halt. The driver in front of me pointed to the creature, perched ominously, turning to his passenger as traffic moved in front of him. Passerbys stopped and turned, like on command, resembling a sidewalk of  Easter Island figures, all facing west.

A vulture, ugly simply by dint of its role in the ecosystem, creepily turned towards me, its back to the yard at hand. They are massive heaving creatures. Last year, the omens would have been writ. The vision all but condemning me to walk the land of the dead. I would have imagined my little fetus Thor doomed. My family thrust into a world of darkness.

This year, I beeped the horn. "Move it, jackass. It's a vulture, not Jesus."

This is New Jersey after all. If we heeded omens, most of our towns would have been abandoned. But it occurred to me that I am in a different place than last summer. Still, the most googled way to find my blog is Dead Bird Omen or any such variation of that phrase. Written in questions. Written in sentences. Misspelled. Desperate acts of anonymity.  Last summer, I had a series of unfortunate experiences: my mother's house caught on fire a few feet from where I was sitting upwind, I almost amputated my finger in a hand blender, dead birds were ending up in my house. I clung to superstition. I clung to fear.

After Lucy died, I lost my faith in science. I once believed that science could basically answer all my questions about this physical world, and then they couldn't answer the simplest of questions, "How did my daughter die?" And so I lost that particular faith. And so I was left, doubtful of God, hateful of science, unconnected to nature. I began heeding omens. Burning sage. Watching for eclipses. I even consulted a five buck psychic on Etsy. And that psychic told me some amazing things, but most important, she said, "You are creating your own bad energy by worrying about omens."

I think in psychological speak, I am integrating my experience into my being. There are proverbial before and after pictures of me. Before: a warm welcoming smile, direct eyes. After: a huge scythe and a kind of Orphean guilt/depression frown saying, "I turned around, goddamn it. I wanted to wait, but I was impatient. I brought this on myself by not understanding the mysteries of the universe and my own human failings.". They are now juxtaposed on one on top of the other giving the eerie illusion that I am a smiling Angel of Death, or perhaps more accurately, a happy person grieving.  Whatever it is called, this feels more me, a little guilt, a little smile, a little depression, a little scythe.

I am not a believer in signs anymore. I am not contributing to fear anymore. It has enough fuel without believing that the gods are telling me something terrible. And so, I am hereby giving the proverbial finger to all vultures, scarabs, dead birds, disembodied chimes and wails, hooves outside my door, cracked mirrors and owls in the daytimes. Fuck all y'all.


  1. angie, i could have written so much of this post myself. despite consulting psychics, astrologers, shamans, as time as passed i've dropped a lot of what i now see as my bullsh*t superstitious beliefs. last week i even dismantled my altar (not her altar), with the gem stones and incense and yadda yadda. it feels pointless now to look for signs, to conjure hope or help.

    oh but fyi, i've been told that turkey vultures are auspicious: good luck, not bad luck. i had two circling overhead at my wedding. my first one that, uh, didn't last.

    sending you love as you make your way in your new reality. xo

  2. Fuck all y'all!!

    Ang, your posts, like all of your posts, rock. But this one, this one right here, rocks my world. I want to package up handfuls of your words and keep them in my pocket and peek at them when I need them. Esp. this one:

    "And so I was left, doubtful of God, hateful of science, unconnected to nature."

    and this one:

    "You are creating your own bad energy by worrying about omens."

    Dude, where are you gonna get that kind of value for $5 on etsy? on...anywhere?

    Fingers in the sky, wavin' 'em high. Fuck all y'all. Oh yes.

  3. So many good signs turned out not to mean anything for us. But even now I can't quite stop looking for them, though I try.

    I had a prof in college who loved vultures and was very indignant that people thought they were ugly. The fact that someone out there thinks they're fabulously beautiful animals makes it easier for me to not like them somehow.

  4. It's a good thing I've never thought of vultures as omens because we used to see flocks of them by our old house. I don't think I've seen one since we moved here though.

  5. Fuck the omens, indeed. Just last week a black cat LITERALLY ran across my path. Like, crossed perpendicularly in front of me.

    I think it even gave me the evil eye and had a broken mirror around its neck.

    But I took a deep breath, said to myself, "huh. that was kind of strange," and kept going.

    As much as I wanted to be freaked out, I talked myself off the ledge and said, like you did, "fuck it."

    I hear you.

  6. Good for you. Honk at the rubberneckers in front of you, and move on past it all.

  7. Don't think much of bad omens either. I like to believe that nice things like sunshine and rainbows are signifying a good day, (wishful thinking on my part) but yeah bad omens can kiss my butt.

  8. My God...I think you and I are twins seperated at birth(and you got the literary skills...)

  9. I love this. "This year, I beeped the horn. 'Move it, jackass. It's a vulture, not Jesus.'" Nearly fell out of my seat when I read it, then read it again so I could laugh again.

    Great post.

  10. That, friend, is $5 well-spent for you and this is time even better spent for me! Thank you for the laugh and for the troof, yo!

    Even though I don't live there anymore, I was raised in Jersey. Can I join your posse? My "birds" are at the ready...

  11. Great post. I think I've seen those same voultures.

    We should get together for the IBLMD next year.
    Born and raised in Jersey.


  12. "a happy person grieving" - yes, that's it exactly. You have such an amazing knack of nailing what it is exactly. Thanks Angie.

  13. Wow - vultures in New Jersey. Who knew? My perception of New Jersey just changed. Great post, as always.

  14. Love this post! I dropped my superstitions too. Whatever happens happens because it does. Not because of a black cat, ladder, etc. Hope you have a good weekend.

  15. LOVED this post!
    I don't think I believe in any shit anymore, the whole spectrum of it- from the holy shit to the commonplace nonsense. I think this is what happens when your world has been shattered like that once.


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