Every morning I wake up to Joy. All I have to do is roll over and look at the wall and there she is. She hung on the wall in front of me, mesmerizing me, when I hung out at Stuff Dreams Are made of in Tulsa. My friend, and fellow mermaid lover, Kris Newlin is her creator and upon my exit plan to escape landlocked status for life on the Gulf of Mexico, she gave Joy to me.
I have had Joy for over two years, and only just decided that I think she is a mermaid, or a selkie.
There is a legend in the UK about the Selkie people, mythological creatures also known as seal people, sea people or mermaids. The symbol of a calm and bountiful temperament, some say selkies often appear to save the lives of children and fishermen who have fallen into the sea.
One tale tells of a fisherman who finds a female selkie’s seal skin on the beach, and hiding it from her, compels her to be his wife. But the wife will spend her time in captivity longing for the sea, her true home, and will often be seen gazing longingly at the ocean.
I relate to both. As a volunteer on the beach for two seasons one of my tasks was to blow a whistle so that I could try and keep people from being in the water when it was closed due to dangerous currents. I never wanted to be landlocked after falling in love with the sea on the beaches of New York as a little girl. But I chose landlocked life anyway, being married for 24 years, with no salt water anywhere nearby, always longing for the sea.
Everything about Joy moves me. That look on her face says safe and serene to me. Like she knows it is all going to be ok, or better, that it already is, despite the weight of her wings, rusty from the salt water. Her long hair, swirling. The light of the moon or the sun, don’t know which, doesn’t matter much. Because it’s a light source backing her up.
Her colors are my palette of choice when I paint. Something about sapphire blue and turquoise and periwinkle, when combined, that makes my heart happy.
The bird near her brain. That hits home. I have had a bird in my brain most of my life. People in white coats with lots of letters after their name concur. My favorite label is the most recent. “Lucinda, you have a Rich Cerebral Universe.” There. That settles it. I shall call my bird Rich.
And that little bit of barbed wire just above the head? I have felt like I have barbed wire in my brain. And that hurts. A lot.
I love Joy. She can swim AND she has wings. What a great metaphor for my life today and my wish for yours as well.