Starlings in Winter, by Mary Oliver

Blessed Solstice, dear readers. This year’s Solstice poem is by Mary Oliver, who sadly passed away in 2019. Starlings were introduced into North America by Eugene Schieffelin in 1890, as part of his quest to introduce every species of bird mentioned by Shakespeare to the USA. You can see these birds all over Sacramento and Natomas in complex murmurations.

Chunky and noisy, 
but with stars in their black feathers, 
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly 
they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air, 
they swing over buildings, 
dipping and rising; 
they float like one stippled star
that opens, 
becomes for a moment fragmented, 
then closes again; 
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine 
how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause, 
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing, 
this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again, 
full of gorgeous life. 
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us, 
even in the leafless winter, 
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it; 
I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground, 
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want 
to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing, 
as though I had wings. 

A Schitt$ Creek Tarot Reading

My daughter and I have been binging Schitt’s Creek which, of course, we love, and I took special delight in seeing Twyla make her way through a tarot reading for Ted and Alexis in “The Hike” (Season 5, Episode 13). Frankly this is more of a recap than an analysis, but I love the details of how this reading plays out in the season finale a full season later.

SCHITT$ CREEK FINALE SPOILERS AHEAD

Twlya is an expert reader who learned from the best:

“Oh, one of my mom’s ex-boyfriends was a magician, and a gambling addict. But he was also really good at reading tarot cards. He predicted when he was going to leave my mom, like, to the day.”

The viewer can’t tell what deck Twlya is using or what the cards are, or what the layout is, but Twlya certainly sees a lot in the cards. There is a sinking ship and people dressed in black having a party: “Well, more like a funeral.” Alexis is understandably disturbed by this and leaves. As viewers, we are pretty sure that Ted and Alexis are not going to die on their upcoming trip to the Galapagos Islands, so we assume that Twlya is just not a good reader and that the joke lies in the inaccuracy of the reading.

However, Alexis comes back later and asks for a second reading, to which Twlya responds,

“I’d be glad to do it, Alexis, but I should warn you, I think the deck may be cursed. I predicted four other drownings today.”

So far not great. But then Twlya reveals that Alexis left before Twlya showed her the last card, which was the ten of cups.

“And I saw your family with this big… golden ring of light around them. Like you all had something to celebrate. It’s gonna be a good year, Alexis. You’re on the right path…And that golden ring means prosperity. Hm. Either that or it’s a stain from a beer bottle. Because my mom’s ex gave me the cards.”

Twyla’s reading is actually pretty spot on, beer bottle stains aside.

AGAIN, SPOILERS!

Ted going to Galapagos sinks the “relationship” and the relationship dies, and that is very sad. David and Patrick get married though, and there is a big party, and everyone wears black except for Moira and Alexis, and the family is, more or less, on the right path. They have increased prosperity and they have grown together as a family and as a community.

So I suppose the moral of the story is that readers make mistakes, but the cards don’t lie, not even cards with beer bottle stains on them. I loved how this reading turned from funny to touching, and how perfectly it played to the series finale.

For a lovely post on the ten of cups and this episode, try this Tumblr post.

And here’s a clip of Twlya being Twlya, with a glimpse of the reading at the very end!