“Do you smell oil?” Patty wanted to know.
“I’m not sure,” I replied. “Sort of, I guess.”
“I think I smell oil,” she said. “Or at least the water doesn’t smell as salty as it usually does?’
I still wasn’t certain, but I took her word for it. She has a much better sense of smell than I do, especially when it comes to beaches and fish and the flavors of food. That may not be unique–I think I read somewhere that a woman’s sense of smell is about 10,000 times more powerful than a man’s. So it’s normal if she smells things that I don’t.
But I guess it was easier to talk about smelling oil than to worry about how soon we would be seeing it hitting the beaches of Sarasota. As we were talking we were chest-deep in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico off Lido Key, enjoying a late afternoon swim on the eve of the lunar eclipse. The BP oil spill was still a couple hundred miles away, but we both knew that eventually it would be soiling our beloved beaches, so just after Friday’s closing bell we had grabbed our bathing suits and headed for the shore.
We were there at low tide, and the currents were starting to shift a bit. Sometimes the waters of the Gulf are smooth as glass, shimmering with a beguiling transparency that lets you see your feet on the sandy bottom as you stand in the warming water. But that wasn’t what was going on when Patty said she had started to smell oil. There was a stiff wind and some choppy surf–not the kind of turbulent forcefulness you’ll find on an Atlantic beach, but some definite waves nevertheless.
I lost my footing for a moment as the current tugged at me, then my feet found the sand beneath the waves again.
For me, the surf is a constant reminder that what you least expect will probably be what will happen next. But even within the chaos and uncertainty there are always some recognizable patterns, gentle reinforcements of our connection with divinity as it manifests in the rhythmic cycles of nature.
It’s really a lot like the markets, I thought.
Much of what it takes for successful trading is the ability to tune in to the ebb and the flow, the currents and the eddies, of the ever-changing action in the markets. You can get a pretty good feel for what to expect in the overall patterns, but the moment-to-moment action brings an infinite capacity for surprises.
If you use astrology in your trading, you also become aware of the ways that the planetary dynamics impact the shifting trends. Just like the Moon moves the tides, the alignments of the Moon, the Sun, and the planets impact the emotions that drive the market action.
If you anticipate the bigger patterns and avoid being ruffled emotionally by the moment-to-moment changes . . . .
My thoughts were interrupted by a rumble of thunder and a jagged flash of lightning across the face of a very black cloud that had suddenly loomed up on the southern horizon.
The gathering storm was a far more immediate threat than the faint smell of oil. It was time to get out of the water.
We got back to our car just before the first big raindrops hit; we were soon in the midst of a downpour.
There are times, I thought, when a drastic change in circumstances trumps all our efforts to understand the ebb and flow of the cycles that create inexorable changes in long-term trend. That’s when it’s time to get out of the water, at least long enough to tell which way the storm is going.
And, of course, there are times when that happens in the markets, too.