Wednesday, August 23, 2006

O Holy Night

I live in a hippie neighborhood. People on my block paint their houses turquoise and purple and lime green (our house is lime green); they hang signs that say "Peace" over their front doors; they decorate their porches year-round with white Christmas lights and art. And there is a neighborhood Virgin Mary.

When we moved in, we laughed about the plywood cutout of the Virgin Mary that sat on the porch of the purple house directly across the street. Within a few days, we saw that it had moved one porch to the left--a phenomenon that struck me as vaguely creepy. A few days after that, it vanished.

Last weekend, we spent a couple of nights out of town visiting my dad, who was visiting from Oregon, at my aunt's house in Cannon Falls. On Saturday we went to the Renaissance Festival in Shakopee. That evening my aunt drove us home so we could give the cats more food and grab a few things we needed for one more night at her house. As we drove toward our house, I pointed it out to my aunt and my dad: "The green one is ours.... Why is the Virgin Mary on our porch?" Apparently, the Virgin travels on a rotation, and our landlord has signed our porch up as one of the stops. So now we know that she is holding a painted-on baby Jesus, and that there is also a second plywood cutout--of one of the wise men kneeling to present a box of gold, frankincense, or myrrh.

Our bedroom window is still flanked by these two pieces of a dismembered Nativity scene. I won't discuss the irony in this, but I do want to tell you about the dream I had last night. All I remember of it is throwing myself on the floor, covering my ears and squeezing my eyes shut while gunshots sounded nearby enough that I could see flashes of light through my eyelids. (I know gunshots don't actually involve bright flashes of light; this was a dream.) This startled me awake, and once I was awake, I realized I had to pee. As I walked into the bathroom, I thought I saw flashes of light through the closed blinds of the window to my right. I backed up a few steps and stared at the window, hoping I wasn't crazy. But there it was again, and I could even hear a little thunder. So the flashes in my dream were lightning. Okay. I peed, then walked around the house closing windows against the storm before I climbed back into bed.

Once in bed, I lay on my stomach and parted the blinds of the window at the head of the bed. I admired the violently blustering wind, the rain splattering in the street, and the eerie orangeness of the sky before noticing an unfamiliar dark shape to the right of the window. My breath caught and I had to squint at the thing lying across the porch for a few seconds before I recognized it as the back side of a plywood cutout.

So in my dream, when I thought I heard a gun being fired, it was actually just the Virgin Mary blowing over in the wind.


Blogger Loralee Choate said...

I am fairly jealous as the uptight state I live in tends to bring out my inner hippie.

8/24/2006 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My neighborhood is so boring...

8/24/2006 2:16 PM  
Blogger erin said...

i love it. sounds like a fun and funky neighborhood - right up my alley! although the ex-catholic in me might have trouble with the virgin mary appearing on my porch...

8/25/2006 11:16 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

The never-a-Catholic in me has a little trouble with it, too, actually.

8/26/2006 10:50 AM  

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