Reading the signs

reading the signs

Sometimes I mock superstitious people for their credulity. It’s all very silly, isn’t it, all this hokum?

Oh dear. I’m such a hypocrite.

I myself have about a million little superstitions. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, I used to walk to work, and I always noticed playing cards in the streets. (I never see these anymore. What’s happened? Don’t people play cards anymore?) Playing cards match up with Tarot cards, and I used to tell my dailyfortune by the cards I saw. The nine of hearts foretold a very good day; the ten of spades meant a very bad day. And so on.

Now it’s finding change in the street. I’ve decided that finding money is a good omen. A penny will do; a nickel is better, or a dime, naturally. Some days I find handfuls of change (Providence is installing more parking meters, and people seem to throw change around in all directions). Once in a while I find folding money. Those are special days.

(Why do I do this? Why do any of us do this? Simple: we look for meaning in the world. We believe instinctively that everything is linked to everything else.)

(Not very logical, right? But very human.)

Not long ago, I was anticipating a pretty awful day. I walked to work as normal, hoping to find (at least) a penny in the street. But I found nothing.

Then, suddenly, on a wire fence, I saw a huge crow. It cawed, and suddenly something dark moved in the tree above, and I saw another.

Two crows.




One crow sorrow, two crows joy;

Three crows a girl, and four crows a boy.

Five crows silver, six crows gold;

Seven crows a secret never to be told.

I can’t even remember where I learned that rhyme, but it cheered me. Two crows joy. An omen!

And then, a few moments later, I found a nickel in the street.

And you know what? The day turned out to be pretty good after all.

(The world is a mysterious place. Anything is possible.)

About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

4 Responses to Reading the signs

  1. starproms says:

    Love it! For me it is feathers. I look for feathers in the street where I’m walking. Now, depending on which way the feather is pointing, i.e. north, south, east or west, it foretells good fortune or ill. They can also tell you which way you should be going or answer a question like ‘shall I?’ or ‘shan’t I’.
    No hope for us is there!

    • No hope at all for us. I look for signs and omens everywhere. This morning on the way to work it was a green “4” card from a Uno deck (do they have Uno in the UK? It’s a kid’s card game with a very simplified deck of cards). I couldn’t decide what a green 4 might mean, but I decided by default it must be good luck.

      • starproms says:

        LOL yes we have Uno, but I don’t think I’ve played it. Must check that out, with my grandson in mind. We have Snap and Happy Families for him at the moment. He is learning…

  2. starproms says:

    p.s I bet you’ll look for feathers as well tomorrow!

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