Is a cigar really just a cigar?

By all accounts, today is a beautiful day. Looking out my back glass doors, I have a full view of my newly snow-dusted backyard illuminated by a dazzling sun in a clear blue sky. No wind. Nothing moving. Just a still tableau of white, sparkle and the contrast of the dark barren boughs of the apple and willow trees beyond the deck.

But it’s not the same picture that greets me every other morning, and not only because of the fresh snow. One of the two identical plastic deck chairs that sit together along one side of the deck, divided by a little outdoor table, was out of place. Instead of backing up along the fenced up part of the deck and facing south, it was turned 90 degrees now, as though it had traced a semi-circle around its partner and moved past it, now facing west and confronting me squarely nearer the back porch doors.

Well, what’s this? Of course my first thought was that there must have been a pretty strong wind last night that whipped the chair out of its place to its new position. Then the cross-checking thoughts: funny, I don’t remember hearing high winds through the night; and, it’s so perfectly still now; and, nothing else seems to have moved. Well, whatever. Unless someone for no good reason came into the backyard last night and moved the chair and nothing else, it had to have been the wind. End of story. Or is it?

What if the chair were moved by unknown spiritual or alien forces?  What if one of my dead parents had moved the chair? What if one of my neighbours was not the seemingly sane person they appeared to be, and had covertly moved the chair in the night? What if I moved the chair during a forgotten dream? What if the chair hasn’t moved at all, but my mind is playing tricks on me this morning and suggesting it has? What if there isn’t even a chair at all?

Good questions, for a start. But what about the bigger question: if there is a chair, and if it has moved, so what?  Does it mean anything? Does a chair having moved signify nothing more than a weather-related fact? Could my dead parents be trying to send me a message, and if so, what? (Go west??) Should I mention the incident to the neighbours and watch their eyes for any suspicious reaction? Maybe I need to Google ‘moving chairs’ to see what the dream analysis sites have to say.

I don’t know if anyone – including my unconscious – is trying to send me a message, but I’ve decided on this.  When a chair has swung out of its usual position on the deck and landed to face you on a glorious, still, twinkling morning, it means exactly that. You wake up, a chair has moved, you don’t know why and you never will for sure. And so it goes.

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