Most people have to look at these earrings for a while before they see an image. Take a look, then read on.
This morning one of my students arrived at school with a "talking thumbnail." Last night a pitching machine threw a softball that mashed her thumb against her bat. After Marina told the class about why her thumb can look like it's talking, another girl said, "Oh, is that what your earrings are today? A smushed thumbnail?"
"This is a tricky pair," I said. "People see lots of different things.
I've owned these earrings for over 20 years. I bought them at the Oatlands Sugar Cane Festival near Savannah Georgia, an annual event that I visited with my children each fall while we lived in Georgia. The first year, Kathe was 2 and Willem was an infant.
While I admired the many clay earrings on display, Kathe stared in fascination at the artist who made them. Braided into her long, greying hair were beads and feathers and... maybe not bones and snakeskin, but that's what I seem to recall. I bought a pair of earrings or a pin from her each year. This pair was on sale.
I've had to learn not to get suckered into great deals. I wish I'd spent the extra five dollars to get a pair that I would love, and that everyone would see and admire.
But this pair is almost like a puzzle. So many guesses. Two snakes? A crab? A long-eared, long-nosed creature? A monkey with small eyes? Eventually, someone usually says, "Two birds! Like flamingoes, with long beaks and curved necks!"
"No, it's snakes," someone else will reply.
"It's a crab! Look, those are its claws!"
But I don't think anyone has ever thought they looked like smushed thumbnails before.