I read Carmen Maria Machado's excellent and slightly disturbing book of short stories, Her Body and Other Parties, not long ago and now I can't stop thinking about it. Well, not about the book exactly, although it does haunt me a little too. But really what got stuck in my head was this part of an interview she did on the podcast Between the Covers about the uncanny. She was talking about how to create a sense of the uncanny in her fiction--how to imbue a story with a sort of eeriness, a feeling that's hard to articulate--but now I think about the uncanny in my every day life. I notice things all the time that are a little eerie, just a tiny bit uncanny. Not ominous, exactly, or foreboding, or scary, or weird. Just a little...off. A little peculiar. A little uncanny!!
Like about a month ago I was on a dog walk with Cedar, and we saw two sets of identical cars. Two black SUV Chevrolets passed by us when we were trying to cross the street, and then on the way home two gold PT cruisers--exactly the same--were parked out in front of my neighbor's house. Nothing too special, but also not quite normal, either! A week or two ago I was in my garden and a crow came and cawed at me until he was hoarse, and then another crow came and cawed at me walking to the car (although, as a side note, I am afraid I have somehow offended them and will have to make it up with offerings. Will keep you posted on what happens). Kind of spooky, no? A few days ago, sitting around in the backyard with my family, a heron flew over us so close that we could see his flexed toes and the soft blue of his belly. Then yesterday I saw not one, but another TWO (!) herons fly over Ross Island Bridge while I was in traffic! One flew right over the bridge, a big mighty dinosaur bird casting a long shadow over the cars. And then another flew into the trees right as I was getting off the bridge, just ahead of me. Isn't that a little odd? What do all these herons mean?!
Probably just an odd coincidence, but I wonder too if all these happenings are some part of a great cosmic dance we only see glimpses of now and then. Mystery and wonder, the uncanny and the extraordinary, I think it's all connected. It's what makes life a little more worthwhile.