Maybe it's my strong Celtic heritage. Five of my six grandparents (yeah, I know it should just be four but, hey, I got an extra set!) were from the Ould Sod: one from Scotland and five from Ireland. Anyway, I'm a little superstitious sometimes. Not a lot. Just a little. Sometimes. And maybe I just like borrowing a tradition or two, much the same as I borrow holidays. One of my borrows is Bottle Trees. (You can see pictures in this post.)
Bottle Trees are a Mississippi tradition. Now, I'm not a native Mississippian, having been born in the North and having lived in nine US states, but Mississippi is Home and I'm staying put. Mississippi Folks place bottles on the branches of a tree near the bedroom window so that the "Haints" (ghosts, demons, bad dreams, whatever is pestering you) will be attracted by the pretty glass (apparently they like blue best) and they fly upward into the bottles to check it out, whereupon they are trapped, and when the morning light shines, the Haints disappear into vapor as though they had never been. You've gotta love a tradition that deals effectively with Haints. I sure do. My two Bottle Trees are made of rebar rather than trees but I don't guess the Haints mind about that.
One of my Bottle Trees is by the front door; the other is placed, more sensibly, between the windows at the East end of the house. The windows are in this order:
Office -> Bathroom -> Bedroom.I like looking out at my Bottle Tree from the comfort of my hand-me-down desk chair. But today I noticed something that Did Not cheer my heart: some of the bottles are missing. And I think I know when it happened.
Let me explain that I am Not a morning person. Oh, I'm awake and conscious early enough but my internal engine seems to run on either Neutral or Low Gear for a couple of hours first thing in the day. That's why I didn't hit the shower until after 10 AM on Monday. And maybe that's why it didn't completely register when I noticed motion through the glazed glass of the bathroom window. Usually I can just make out the colors and the shape of the Bottle Tree but that morning there was a blob that seemed to be moving. I figured it was just my eyesight playing tricks.
But, a few minutes later, I knew something else was going on when I went to the bedroom to get dressed: I heard voices outside. Since my tenant's mobile home has still not been moved (darn it! I want this to be over!), I figured it was either the buyer or the mover....and then I realized the voices were female. The buyer and the mover are men. I peeked out the shade. Sure enough, there was an SUV pulled up near the door of the mobile home and women walking around. They noticed me peeking. I got dressed quickly but by the time I got out my front door, they were long gone.
Who were they? I haven't a clue.
Why were they here? I can make a guess: marauding, pillaging, hunting for a place for mayhem.
It wasn't until this morning when I was working at my desk and looking out of the window that I realized something was wrong. I had a couple of old sun-stained-purple bottles on that tree. Gone. A couple of green bottles gone, too, as well as some blue. That makes me sad but I don't have to be angry because those marauders may get more than they bargained for. I seriously wouldn't recommend disturbing someone's Bottle Tree.
Hey, marauders: the Haints are gonna getcha!
Life is still good (although maybe less so for thieves)
Hopefully I've got some extra bottles somewhere in my workshop.