There’s a ring around the moon with four stars inside the ring. That means it will rain during the next four days.
A dog sleeps on his back. That means he trusts you.
The prows of the fishing boats face the ocean. That means the tide’s coming in.
A woman touches your hand while she’s talking to you. That means her dog sleeps on his back.
The blindfolded woman in the Two of Swords has her back to the ocean. That means she’s reached a decision. People say the Two of Swords is a card of hesitation. It’s not. How can you tell? By the way the blindfolded woman holds the two swords. The point of each sword extends beyond the border of the card. Balance comes from resolve, not from hesitation.
The leaves on the cottonwoods are upside down. That means it will rain before midnight.
Water tastes better than anything else. That means you should fast tomorrow and stay away from wine until the next full moon.
A man’s nose is red and swollen. He drinks to medicate his heart.
A man with tortured hair speaks in a sing-song voice. His intention is to distract you while he robs you of everything you love and hold dear.
An older man grows a beard. His intention is to lose contact with his past. He treasures the memories of his childhood, his friends, his adventures—even his blunders. He can’t forget them. But he wants to lose track of his story. He wants his past to dissolve, the way one scene in a movie dissolves into the next. In the space between the scenes—inside the body of the dissolve—no contact is possible, not even with himself.
A man keeps a twenty dollar bill in his shoe. His emotions are his big secrets.
A man carries a wad of hundred dollar bills wrapped in a red rubber band. He flashes the wad to bartenders, gold-diggers, ice skaters, and maître ‘ds. That means he knows how to spend his secrets. For years, he hoarded them. If there had been a glue that stuck secrets to each other, he would have bought it by the gallon. But there was no such glue, so he learned to spend his secrets the way a tycoon spends favors. It only looks haphazard.
A woman says, “Let’s get out of here.” That means she likes you more than she cares to admit. In her sleep, she dreams of falling into a trap and escaping with her life.
A woman holds a cat in her lap. Her wealth lives in her heart.
A woman says, “You remind me of someone I used to know.” She wants you to make her forget her mother.
A little girl frowns at the camera. She trusts herself.
A boy makes a crazy face for the camera. His specialties are bacon and candy.
You dream of standing naked on stage. You forgot to say “thank you.”
You watch the sun rise over a body of water. Your patience will be tested.
An older man gives you money. He craves suspense.
A woman in a tuxedo shuffles the cards. She wants you to know the truth, but she wants you to hear it from anyone but her.
Which brings us to the 1988 Raymond-Lafon Sauternes. In the glass, the Sauternes is a séance, a first kiss, and a premonition combined into a teardrop of amber. The bouquet is a test. If you pass, the vapors rising from your glass will take you from mountaintop to mountaintop. If you fail, that means you take things literally. Not too literally. Just literally.
On the palate, the 1988 Raymond-Lafon gives a whole new meaning to the art of defying gravity. Its flavors are like costumes. Sometimes you know who it is. Most of the time, you can only guess.
The finish is why you love old Sauternes. It combines generosity with restraint in a way that human beings wish we could do, even though we can’t. Only wine can play that card and have it not be a trick.
The air crackles with electricity. An earthquake is on its way.
The earth wobbles on its axis. Nothing happens the same way twice, much as you wish it could. In a fantasy, you relive the golden moments that rewarded you in ways you did not deserve. But each of those moments is gone. You did your best. You paid attention. But all the attention in the world can’t prevent a moment from dissolving into the past.
A woman with black hair and dark eyes weaves a question into her blankets. You don’t know the answer. She wove the question into her blankets to make you ask, “But what does it mean?” Her gift to you is the moment when you ask that question.
You see a shooting star and wonder if it means anything. It means everything. It means the world watches you the way you watch the world.
You dream of being late for a plane. This means you ate too much cheese.
Coyotes howl in the night. You have a decision to make.
The winners tell jokes, and the losers say, “Deal.” Losers celebrate when they win. Winners celebrate when they lose. It’s just the way the cards fall.