When Mercury is in Retrograde

As I was sitting at the table yesterday morning working on a project, a bird thunked into the living room window. I know robins nest in the rhododendron tucked tightly in a corner next to the outer living room wall. My first thought was that I hoped it wasn’t a mama bird; then I wondered how in the heck she flew up into the window. I intuitively knew she had not been coming in for a landing but rather taking off, for surely a winged mom flies directly to her home. It was a navigational error on take-off. That’s when the thought first struck: Is Mercury in retrograde? I typed the question into Google and the first hit was a big square box with the word “YES” in it and followed by “Started April 9, 2017, ends May 3, 2017.” I sighed deeply, so that’s it.

My mom works as a cook at a senior center, and she can forecast a full moon days before its dome peeks over the horizon. People’s behaviors change. And it’s not pretty. Mom has adapted a “No surprise, it’s a full moon” attitude when people go a little haywire. And one might think this is crazy, how could the moon impact us when it’s so far away?

Have you seen a coast at low tide then at high tide? Every 12 hours at low tide on Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester, MA, the waves retreat and more than a football field’s length of new beach extends outward. Then beyond that an impressive sand bar, the length of another football field. In total you can walk out 200 yards from the coast line on new land. At high tide, the new beach and sand bar completely disappear.

As someone who grew up land-locked, I just don’t get how this happens. A little research provided the answer that I still don’t understand: the gravitational tug-of-war between the pull of the moon and that of the sun creates tides, like clockwork: two high tides and two low tides within every 24-hour period. And the timing changes by a few minutes each day so high and low tides never occur at the same time as the previous day. It’s science, and sometimes this right-brained writer just needs to accept left-brain scientific facts.

As I accept the concept of tides, I don’t doubt the impact of a planet in retrograde. Of course, Mercury doesn’t literally go in reverse. For the three weeks a few times a year that it is in retrograde, those are the times it looks like it’s going backwards because the earth is speeding by it, I think. Again, quoting science is not my strong suit. The retrograde is similar to the perception of two moving vehicles where one is going faster than the other. The slower one is like Mercury in retrograde: it only appears to be going backwards.

Mom feels the full moon; I feel Mercury in retrograde. Crazy little actions – mine and others – dot my days. Communicating is tough. Thinking slows. “I can’t get out of my own way.” The weight of life sits squarely on my shoulders and can’t be shrugged off. The ability to compartmentalize tasks, feelings, and thoughts disappears. It all rises to the top like thick cream on fresh milk; fluid and unable to be pieced apart.

Yet once I confirm little Mercury’s retrograde, I function better. Previously baffled, I knowingly nod. Liam’s chortle with a mouthful of milk, of course, resulting in sprayed milk all over brand new Class A and Class B scout uniforms. (He was wearing B over the top of A… of course.)

The 150-year-old Christmas cactus crashing to the floor during a game of hide-and-seek: bound to happen.

Trying to quick-fix a problem on the scout tracking software at 10 p.m. and failing – creating a bigger challenge… I should’ve known.

Multiple scout applications missing signatures, information, crossed t’s and dotted i’s? Naturally.

On the list goes on.

Little annoyances, one after another, after another.

May 3rd, my friends. May 3rd.

Until then, I’ll keep cleaning up the little stuff, try to do one thing at a time, put the cacti branches in water to root them, and counter my over reactions by – not cussing – just muttering, “Mercury.”

Happy Hump Day.