not so bleak after all

photo by Pen Waggener
photo by Pen Waggener

A winter without snow can get pretty bleak at times, but I’m trying to be careful about what I’m wishing for. Janet and I decided to be adventurous and spend our birthday lunch trying out a new (at least to us) organic restaurant across the river in New London, Mangetout.

The vegan and gluten-free options were clearly indicated on the menu and the specials board, which was very helpful. We warmed up with coffee, so I splurged on a soy latte – haven’t had one since November when Tim’s brother was making them for us every morning we were there in Virginia. Joy!!! It was every bit as good as Dan’s! Janet had a quiche and I had the tomato-lentil soup and a side of roasted butternut squash. All I can say is that the soup was so delicious that I now thoroughly understand how Esau could sell his birthright for a bowl of Jacob’s lentil stew.

After lunch we took a walk in the city and stopped by the Hygienic Art gallery where we saw an interesting exhibit of paintings, photographs, pottery, etc, created by local high school students. After we left, as we were strolling along, chatting away, Janet suddenly spotted a skunk making its way across a courtyard! Yikes! I scrambled and fumbled with the new camera, as I was not expecting to encounter anything but a still-life that afternoon. But I just decided to take whatever picture I could get…

1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut
1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut
1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut
1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut

Perhaps it was looking for a rest room? (It’s kind of blending in with the low white wall near the bottom left. The restroom doors say *Goddesses* and *Gods* – there are outdoor cultural programs presented here in the summer, hence the restrooms.)

1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut
1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut

I like what Avia Venefica says about the meaning of skunk encounters on her website:

We would all do well to take this animal symbolism from the skunk: Do no harm. Indeed, as a totem animal, the skunk asks us to defend ourselves effectively, without causing further conflict.

Interestingly, the skunk would prefer to be even less assertive. You see, it takes over a week to reproduce its stinky juices after using them (their glands are only good for about 4 sprays). Ergo, the skunk is 100% sure it must spray before doing so as this defense tool is a commodity in the wild – not to be wasted on false alarms.

In recognizing this, we see the skunk is the ultimate pacifist, and by adopting its peace-loving ways we may obtain the carefree lifestyle this creature enjoys.

After this bit of excitement was over, we kept exploring the shops along Bank St. and State St. and enjoying the gentle snow flurries that began fluttering through the air, adding more magic to the afternoon. We came across a colorful information booth that was boarded up with paintings on the boards covering the windows.

1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut
1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut
1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut
1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut

And before we hopped back into the car because we were chilled to the bone, we saw this tall house or apartment building with a nautical painting on one side.

1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut
1.19.12 ~ New London, Connecticut

It’s fun having a birthday twin, a wonderful friend, to spend it with!