I'm seeing thistles everywhere lately, climbing hills formerly lined in ivy but now guarded by thistles, rounding corners to find thistles looming, purple-topped and foreboding, thistles in every neighborhood garden and roundabout and curbside grass. Small thistles masquerading as clovers but secretly covered in spines. Thistles where formerly there was nothing. TMS says that it's a sign that the universe is listening to my oft-repeated mantra about thistles bearing unexpected figs, and that the only thing left to do now is to figure out what sign the universe is trying to send me.
Is it mocking me with all of these figless thistles everywhere I turn, or is it promising an abundance of upcoming rewards from all of the up again and at anothering? Have the thistles been reading my horoscope, which has been telling me for months that since Saturn has spent the last two and a half years teaching me lessons it's eventually going to start handing out presents for working so hard to become a better person through all of the death and sorrow and bad luck and failing and near misses and crying in cabs? (Dear Saturn, do you need my address? I could use a serious break.) Or are noxious weeds more interested in rain than sun and therefore faring better than the plants who are waiting for nicer weather?
Life being what it is (a total dick), the universe is probably mocking me, and a weed is probably just a weed. After all, the whole point of combining figs and thistles was originally about how good things don't come from false prophecies, even if Millay sure managed to extract a lot of brilliance out of all of those things.
Here, though, it's more about how thistles are related to asters and daisies, their sweeter, less rebellious cousins, and my irritating tendency to believe that somewhere behind the thorns there might always be flowers--that everything spiny and unforgiving might one day decide to relax and grow fruit. And though I am both very tired and very merry, as a rule, I am also lately plagued by thorns, and a little worried about what that might mean. This kingdom of metaphors always gives us answers, but not always the answers that we want.