It takes more than one hand to list the animals that have been showing up for me lately, filling the air with their song and presenting me with wisdom, perspective, challenge.
[Note: I count on my fingers beginning with the thumb. How many people do that? I would wager not many. Not many Americans anyway.]
One. Hawk. The messenger. Visionary power and guardianship. Paying attention to what might otherwise be overlooked.
Two. Eagle. Bald eagle, off to the west of I-5 somewhere around Stanwood. Ability to see highest truth or viewpoint. Spiritual energy. Connection from earth to sky, symbolizing balance.
Three. Ants. LOTS of ants. Many more than I am comfortable with. The warm spring winds awakened them and they scuttled inside looking for solace. Attending to one’s foundation. Community. Perseverance. Accomplishment through discipline and structure.
[Ant note: Edward O. Wilson says, “Give ants nuclear weapons and the world would be destroyed in a week.” I can attest that they are relentless. A neverending stream of them has invaded my house. I am both violated and entranced. Last night after the army retreated I saw stragglers carrying off parts of the dead. I fight them with tea tree oil, cinnamon, and Black Flag ant traps. This may be a losing battle. I am larger but they have numbers.]
Four. Crow. A few days ago there was a sporadic stream of debris trickling down my front window. I went out and confronted Crow, who hopped from my roof over to his compatriot on the electrical wire nearby where they both regarded me with bright humorous eyes. “Fine,” I muttered as I closed the door again, “Have your fun.” Crow has odd ways of making friends. Integrity. Bringing magic into your life. Seeing the magic that is already present around you.
Five. Deer, alongside Lakeway Drive today. Standing, watching the traffic. I am pretty sure that the cars following me too-close did not see Deer. Gentleness. Grace. Peacefulness. Spirituality. Love.
New hand. Six. Lizard, on the trail today in the Magic Forest, where I went to Be after walking through a doorway and closing another. Lizard stood very still on the path, unblinking, unmoving. Dreams. Imagining different futures and creating them.
Hawk, Eagle, Ant, Crow, Deer, Lizard.
Like connecting dots, I can draw a line from last week to Now through all the animals who have visited my path and see where I have been. I think it points also to where I am going.
I alluded earlier to doorways opening and closing. I was surprised to close a door — we are taught that closing doors limits choice — but also received the message at the time that closing that particular door actually allows many other doors to open. And one did. I have never felt quite this human before. Not frail and vulnerable, as I imagined being human might feel like all these years I have resisted through a brick wall of trying-to-be-perfection, but warm. Soft. Yielding yet strong. Supple, lithe, determined. Alive.
Yes, alive. That is what this feeling is.
It’s as if I have suddenly turned from black and white into full glorious color, like when Dorothy lands in Oz.
I feel compelled to DO something with this difference, this aliveness, but mostly the message is to BE. I am anxious to prove its reality to myself, and also anxious to begin crossing off the debts I incurred by being less than human all these years, as if each relationship, each interaction, each momentary eye contact was made less than it could have been because I was trying to be more than I was.
What would Crow say to that?
Animals simply are as they are, and do not attempt to be more than they are unless it is for a very specific reason. The cat becomes larger, fluffing fur and tail, to intimidate an enemy. I became not larger but smaller, removing myself from the equation until there was little of me there at all.
All I can do now is to go on from here. Start from where you are.
You. You know who you are. I will start with you. Bring it.
Seven. Manta ray. This one exists for me as an idea, a symbol, but its effects have been exponential. Flow. Letting things come to you.