My daughter spotted him on a suitcase on the baggage rack of a train bound for the Western Highlands. Mr. Tickle, a beloved character created by Roger Hargreaves. What fun we had when she was very small, chorusing phrases about his very long arms and trying to wind our own arms around chairs and cushions to tickle each other.
Last night, after my birthday dinner, Mr Tickle - or at any rate some of his attributes - appeared in my dreams. I met a character who called himself Mr Fish. His repeated injunction, echoing another favorite game from childhood, was "Go Fish." He demonstrated what he meant by this by extending incredibly long and flexible arms.
He showed me how to go fishing across time and space for things that resemble each other. I understood that this was a very lively and animated approach to one of my favorite endeavors: stalking synchronicity. When we notice things that resemble each other, in a series of symbolic popups in the world around us, we begin to awaken to a hidden order of events.
Such patterns of resemblance can involve far more than a one-off conjunction of an inner sense of meaning and an outer event. They can can play over days, weeks, years, centuries. So the hunt for resemblances can take the seeker far and wide. I think of Plutarch, writing biographies in pairs, noting similarities between Greeks and Romans who changed history. In my dreams, my favorite professor - a famous Australian historian long departed from this earth - is working on "Parallel Lives" of his own, noting how events in one life can shape the progress of another life being enacted in a completely different time period. I know Mr. Fish is inviting me to extend my inquiry into the interplay of choices that are being made, and dramas that are being enacted, in the lives of many personalities in many places and times in the multiverse.
I was not able to see the Super Moon on my birthday, since the sky over Glasgow (and over Oban earlier in the day) was overcast. But I am tickled by Mr Fish and the expedition he invited me to continue, seeking resemblances over larger periods of time and space than we generally bring into focus. That's a stretch I'll enjoy.