A dismal start to the day up here. I had dared entertain thoughts of spring, but then I stepped out with the dogs into a blur of snowfall.

But things started looking up when I drew today's cards: Death and the Four of Wands.

Tarot cards depicting a skeleton riding a horse, and rejoicing figures behind a gate of branches.

When you see a tarot deck on TV, you're going to see one of three cards: either the Devil, the Lovers, or Death. If the writer is feeling particularly daring, they might try the Tower or--like I talked about earlier--the Hanged Man, but that's about as deep as it goes. So I'm thrilled that we finally turned up one of the Big Three. It's like having a guest celebrity on the blog.

And, yes, I know, current events, but we can do better than the obvious references, right? We drew the Death card, for crying out loud, and how often does that happen? Let's have fun with it.

So Death here is doing what Death does. Death has already bumped off a king, and is about to do the same for a priest (or a bishop or cardinal or something) despite this holy figure's best attempts to placate the Pale Rider with a couple of innocent children. I'm particularly taken with the image of the child in the white robe. I suppose the artist's intent was to depict a child who was just starting to keel over, but to me it looks like this kid is just having second thoughts. The priest said "Let's go be polite to Death!" and the kids said "okay," but then Death showed up, and our white-robed kid is saying "Ehhhhh I kind of don't want to be part of this any more."

I also prefer to think here that Death is actually the horse. Great big red-eyed horse, just stomping along, knocking over kings. The skeleton is just the flag-bearer.

The skeleton is also distracted. While Death the Horse is taking care of business, the skeleton is looking off to the side. And way over yonder is the land of the living, as shown on the Four of Wands. Beyond the gate between worlds (made up of branches and vines) are two figures, trying to attract the skeleton's attention. "Hey! You, the skeleton! We're having a party over here in Living People Land! Want to come?"

And that's a tough call, right? I mean, it's pretty badass being the rider for Death the Horse. But, in the end, you're still just carrying a flag. Does trampling the souls of the deceased get old after a few millenia? As the employee of an incarnation of the concept of mortality, are you entitled to paid time off?

I think the message we're getting is: take a break. You have a lot of important responsibilities, and among them is your reponsibility to yourself. Maybe let some cute kid carry your flag and ride the horse for a while. Kids like horses.

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