I have one big tattoo of a phoenix on my left calf. I had it put there when I was 55 years old because it described my life better than anything else I could think of. How many times had my life be shattered and somehow, I’d arisen and come back as good or better than before?
I designed the tattoo myself. I didn’t want one that looked like someone else’s. It came out a lot bigger than I expected and over the nearly 20 years since I got it, it has faded considerably. I suppose I should get it “recolored,” but I’ve got enough weird stuff going on with my body so we’ll just let this one drift on the wind.
If you aren’t sure what the story of the Phoenix is, it goes like this:
In the still of the night, just before sunrise, a magnificent creature builds its nest. You stop and watch as it carefully puts each spice, clove, and branch that lay before it in place with meticulous detail. As you stand and watch, you are struck by the tiredness of the creature that is clearly evident – though in no way takes away from its beauty. The sun begins to rise and the bird begins to stretch. Its feathers are a beautiful hue of gold and red – the Phoenix.
It cranes its head back as it sings a haunting melody that stops the sun itself in the sky. A spark falls from the heavens and ignites a great fire that consumes both bird and nest – but not to worry. In three days, the Phoenix will rise from its ashes and be born anew.
This is my Phoenix. It could use more flames and updated color, but I’m fine with its fading and becoming more “me” and less “art.”