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. Â 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.Â 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.