Balance

With Spring Equinox approaching, I can’t help but think about balance. Balance of dark and light. The one day of the year when darkness and light share equal time. All the world shares this equality of day and night on the same day.

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I wonder in my own life, what is out of balance. Then I think of how this world is so much based on duality.  Dark/light. Good/bad. Yes/no. Up/down. Asleep/awake. Black/white. Above/below. Dead/ alive. Within/without, Us/them. Why do we do that so much? It is what our egos know. Ego divides all experiences into good or bad. They learn early how to survive. What is acceptable/not acceptable? Do people see me (or the image of me) in a good light or bad? Does my ego perceive the world as bad or good? Trustworthy or not? What beliefs have I formed along the way that make me perceive through certain filters?

As I let go more and more, of ego perception, I notice when it is present. I notice when I judge things as bad or good. Coal bad/solar good. Monsanto bad/7th Generation good.

On this day of equal light and dark, I want to explore balance.

As always, I go to Nature for answers.

I was hoping to see my first lizard of the season. Ah, there he is!  An older one. Very cautious, but I talk him out from beneath a stone and we have a chat.

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Lizard says, “Close your eyes.”  I don’t. He does pushups, saying, “come on now, do you want to know what I have to say or not? Now close your eyes.”

I do, but just for a second. I open my eyes. Dang! He opens his like he knows I opened mine. Pushups again. “Slow your breathing,” says he.

Ok, my eyes are closed. My breathing is slow and deep. I feel the warmth of the sun, hear the chirping of a robin, and smell the fragrance of pine. I try to remain neutral. Suddenly, I find myself underground in a tunnel. Dark. After a while I come out at a lake. It is a lake I know from when I was a child. I loved it there. It is a place of Light. I look over and see Lizard sunning himself. He opens his eyes, and I swear he smiles and winks. We remain there for what seems like an hour, talking about balance between dreamtime and awake time, and how they can be one and the same. We go back through the underground, back to the original rock. I open my eyes. He does too. We hang out for a little bit. “You can do this anytime, you know. Switch realities. Have a little vacation”

Looking at my watch, only 7 minutes have passed on the clock!

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I look up. A Red-tailed Hawk! It cries out to me, “Be in the big picture. See far.” She circles me, blessing me. She balances my energy field. I am humbled, and thank both Lizard and Hawk.

I look down. Lizard has gone. I look up, Redtail is gone.

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Tancha relating with Magpie

We have horses grazing in our field over the winter. They are both strong and sensitive. I know I have a wild horse inside me. Sometimes I have to contain her wildness, collect her canter. Sometimes I let her run, experiencing thrill and joy. I’ve had to learn that balance over my lifetime. Balance work/play, power/sensitivity. Leading from the Heart, horse speaks of balancing adventure and patience.

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I don’t see them but a sound reminds me of Prairie dogs, who live near here, and are out of their underground, into the light already. They balance dark and light. They tell me, “bring together what is above and what is below. Be alone and be with others. Take care of yourself and of others. Understand what is conscious and what is unconscious. Look into your own unconscious and the Collective Unconscious. Meet others there. Be one with them.”

Thank you prairie dog, you beautiful little creature.

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Magpie is intelligent and wiley.  They speak of using knowledge in an artful and clever way. Communication is key. Often in the summer, I enjoy meditating outside – but then, “Neeeer meep meep. Boopboopboopboop, whistle, whistle meep meep meep. Dooleeleedo.Meep!” Humorous sounds make it hard to concentrate. They say,” Balance fun and work. Don’t believe everything you think. Light and Dark. Black and White. Everything in balance – even balance itself needs to be in balance with not balance as the black in my feathers are refracted by light into green, blue and purple. Our nest have a roofs. Above/below.”

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I see 32 ducks in our wet field right now. They help navigate the waters of our lives with grace and balance. They put their heads under the water to eat, showing us to ground our emotions. And they sound like they are laughing. They play, turning over and over in the water and splashing around(duck post).

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Oh, there is a Morning Cloak Butterfly! They are always the first in the spring, dressed in their black wings, adorned with lacey tan edges.

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She has just had her pupal experience, her dark time. Being a caterpillar, they devour everything in their path. Then they build a cocoon. Julian, in his last post said that imaginal cells, which are in the caterpillar’s  DNA begin to take over. They resist it at first, as their bodies see these cells as foreign. Then they give in, and they are completely transformed into a butterfly, at which time they leave the cocoon and lightly flit and float on the air from flower to flower. I hope we as humans,  so very not in balance, get over our devouring stage soon, and transform and fly as we evolve into something different. As we become more and more awake, we accept the imaginal cells and become butterfly. Maybe the whole world emerges, leaving behind mass destruction and chaos. I love that! Imaginal. That is actually the scientific name! I love to imagine. Richard Bach said, “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly.”

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I look at our wetland. It is in perfect balance. It is enjoyed by us, by deer, frogs, herons, kingfishers, raccoons, bunnies, fish, fox, elk, bear, ducks, geese, mountain lion, bobcat, porcupine and many other animals. Its balance lies with one animal – the beaver. It is the keystone species for the ponds.

Our keystone is Love.

At night, I hear Owl hooting. This one speaks of clarity of vision, and precise action. In its attunement to the harmony of life, Owl brings the two together in the dark. She is a messenger of secret wisdom.

These are the animals I saw or heard today, while thinking of balance and  stepping over stones.

My Higher Self knows ego quite well. Ego only knows of Higher Self, and only as an idea. There is a balance between ego and Self. As we work effectively within the ego to fulfill our spiritual curriculum, we transcend it, and remember more and more who we really are.  Ego brings up all old wounds we need to heal. Anything that disturbs our peace is an issue that needs resolving. Ego shows us our shadow. As Self grows and awakens, we no longer need ego and it will eventually disappear. It helps us with mental balance, as it shows us old beliefs and judgements, which we can let go of and open to new wisdom. It helps with emotional balance, as we let go of feelings of anger or bitterness – feelings that no longer serve us. We can balance the curious child and the wise elder within, the inner critic and the mature leader, the scared infant and the nurturing mother. This is how Authentic Self and small self can live in balance, until we transcend ego.

Living in the Now, we can use our inner compass – our Balance. Living in Balance with others – with all sentient beings, with all life, with all energy, with Gaia, and with Spirit – we can all know Unity.

In balance is the natural flow of life. Feel the flow. Be the flow. The more we are balanced, the more we find balance around us. Our Shadow is important to embrace, as is our Light. Find balance by grounding and attuning to Earth. Find equilibrium of body, mind and Spirit.

So with Equinox, may we be in balance. May we see where we are out of balance in ego, and find peace from our Authentic, or Higher Self.

The night after I wrote this, a gentle frozen myst blew from the east, dusting only one side of each tree with frost. DSC_0347 - Copy_01

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Artist unknown (an old card I had) Does anyone know?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Equinox everyone!

Responding to Flying Dreaming Loving

This post is in response to a beautiful post by Michael from Embracing Forever, called Flying Dreaming Loving. Everything in quotes is his. The link takes you to his post.

Your writing always astounds me Michael, the depth of your heart and soul that you can reach with words.  Words are hard to find, and usually don’t say what they mean to say.  Words that go from one to the next to the next taking on completely different thoughts and meanings as they are passed along, like that game we played as children called “gossip” or “telephone” where one person whispers a sentence into the next person’s ear, then that person whispers it to the next and so on around the circle. It was always funny how different it ended up, when the last in the circle said it out loud.

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Perhaps that is how we have gotten to the place of which you speak, “organized powerlessness.” We have listened too much to the last sentence that has lost its meaning. Words are powerful. Thoughts, feelings, words. We create with them. Do we know what we are creating? Are we basing our creations on what the last person in the circle said?

“We pick up the words we find, clean them off, and try to put them in order.”  You do that well, Michael. You are aware.

Our real power comes from Love. We seem to have forgotten this somewhere. Now our power comes from “systems and structures and codification,”   and now we are “complying with the rules that have been accepted before.” Then, your line that sums that paragraph all up, “All our power is now powerlessness that has gotten organized.”

But your words – they ring true.  They have a power all their own. What you create with your heart and words takes power back – gives power back.

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True Power is Love

You said, “Boundaries had to be broken for us to create sight.” That some gene or two went AWOL and created it.  We transcended blindness. “The past has to be transcended.”

The Now has to take its power back. The present moment is about Love.

I remember those days of running, stumbling over stones or gopher holes, splashing across streams, running until there was a fence. “The sky didn’t stop at the railing, but we did. We did and something else kept going. Going and going and going, until we looked away. And then we ran again down a path this time…” What if we didn’t look away? Or did we have to in order to learn what we came here to learn?  If we are spiritual beings having a human experience, maybe we knew we couldn’t keep going. Maybe in that moment, before we continued to run, we saw our Spirit eye to eye. For a glimpse of a moment we shared deep eye contact. For a glimpse, we remembered, but knew we couldn’t fly off with it. It was not yet time to merge. So we continued to create, and created badly sometimes.

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The ceremony you spoke of, from the academic history book. It is something for which people long. We long for Love.  I am blessed to have groups like that. We get together and “remember how much we love each other.” Maybe it is with one person for a day, 10 people for 5 days, 50 for a week. I am filled by all of my tribe. Love sustains us. My tribe is large. I am grateful. It is sacred.

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But that part – the part that kept going from the railing. It stays with us always. It connects with us every day in Love. To love us from the fence and back. That is our power to transcend the past, to transcend the organized powerlessness that stands in our way. Remembering who we are, remembering we can keep going to the sky and be here at the same time.

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“From that alone – starlight and gravity – holiness echoes in all directions.”

There is motive in Nature. The motive is Life. And just because of that, new Life is created. It changes, it mutates, it erodes, it builds, becoming something else entirely. It develops sight. Beauty is created for Life, which is created by Love.

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Human motives are created from I don’t know what. From the sentence that is last spoken in the circle, from judgments imposed. I don’t like what we are creating, but I love what Nature creates every day. It stays in balance. We don’t.  I don’t like this organized powerlessness.

My vision is that we create something different. We are creating something different.  By reading your true words, Michael.  By knowing that we can go past the fence, and to be here now. By living in Love, by living as Love. . By being Now.

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Yes, I agree. “Time to throw our reasons back in the water and stop seeking explanations from each other.”

Let us look for the best of ourselves reflected in each other’s eyes. Let us transform our powerlessness into Power. The kind of power that transcends blindness. The kind of power that gives of itself in beautiful creation.

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Everyone knows how upset I am about how we are hurting the earth. The tricky part for me is to love the people, who in my point of view are raping Her- for power and greed. I know I need to forgive “them.” I know I need to forgive myself as being part of creating this mess we have all made. I want to blame “them,” which only takes me out of my loving, which only decreases my power to help change. It only gives power to the very energy that I don’t like, which is in all of us. Most everyone knows the story of the two wolves inside everyone – the greedy one and the loving one. Which one do we feed?

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Cranes teach us to celebrate our creative resources and keep them alive, regardless of the conditions in which they are manifest, both by simply having the proper focus in your life (Ted Andrews)

The only things I know to do are:  to Love Her, to love you, to love “them” (whoever “they” are). To listen to the heart of the Beloved.

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“Until forever is the whistle in our ears.”

Geese have powerful voices and remind us to speak up, to communicate. They fly in a V formation, encouraging us to open to new possibilities. To create from a higher place. They have keen vision, as we must hone our vision to transcending the past, and creating a sustainable future based on Love.

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I can vote, write to congress people, sign petitions, recycle, not drive if I can walk there, use sustainable products,  restore creeks and wetlands with my husband where and  when I can, feed the birds, grow flowers for butterflies and bees, share pictures of the beauty I am blessed to see every day,  vision Her whole and well. Promote peace where I can. Be an activist when it might help. Keep my footprint small. Believe in miracles. Know that we are all One. Trust that it is all unfolding perfectly with Grace.

Peace and Love,

Mary

 

 

Walking a Path of Blessings in Nature #Blesstival – 2016

Over at Sophia’s Children, Jamie is putting on a Blesstival Blog Challenge! The idea is to Create a Blessing Wave to Start the New Year.  Jamie says,”it offers the possibility of rippling out the energy and spirit of blessing from within us.”  To share a blessing as part of this wave, click on her name above.

2016 has begun with many blessings for me, and they continue abundantly.

Two feet of snow settled on our drought stricken mountains just before the new year began; a parting gift of 2015. The trees sang it in, and held it close as it decorated their branches. It was a wonderland, and still is, as 2016 has brought 6 more inches.

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My second blessing came on New Year’s Eve. It was wonderful to have four cherished family members here with us to usher in the New Year. We began to reflect on 2015,  what to let go of that we didn’t want to carry into 2016, and what we might vision for the coming year. The conversation went in the direction of politics and the poor prognosis for the planet. I usually try to stay away from these topics because they disturb my peace. Though I don’t put my head in the sand, and am very aware of the chaos and toxicity spewing onto our Mother, my peace lies in loving Her and visioning Her whole and well. There was a pause in the conversation, and I said, “I believe in miracles.”

As the conversation continued,  my mind wandered for a moment.  I looked out our glass door, and a beautiful little grey fox peered in the window sharing eye contact with me. My heart was elated and soaring as I whispered “fox.” One person had seen it at the same time. There was some movement, as others looked and the fox scampered away, leaving us all in joy. Fox was googled, and it turns out Canada has an astrology system based on years, as does China. In Canadian astrology,  guess what year sign we are going into! Yup! Fox! Soon after, it was midnight. I had spoken of miracles, and boom! One happened just like that.

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Some of you, who read my blog, may remember a special encounter I had with a baby fox this summer, that I wrote about in Ponderosa Pine Speaks. Because of that, this blessing was magnified for me. Fox speaks to us of feminine magic, camouflage, shapeshifting and invisibility.  It gives us the skills to blend in and to adapt to the flow of life.

As the fox has keen senses of smell, hearing and vision, it helps us learn to hear and see things we might not have noticed before, such as the in between places, and hearing Spirit. The sense of smell is associated with higher forms of discernment.

Foxes are born deaf and blind, but grow to have this great sight, smell and hearing as they get older. Those to whom fox is important, may have their greatest tests in childhood, and come into greater spiritual sight and hearing as they grow into early adulthood.

Fox speaks of an awakening of kundalini. It also speaks of a new world coming, one of Oneness and being part of the whole.

They are monogamous, yet spend about 5 months of the year alone.

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They have pronounced endurance and stamina, and can outrun any animal of similar size. The grey fox can also climb trees to get a higher perspective. They trot long distances without getting tired. Learning to pace ourselves is a lesson here. The fox also runs in such a way that the tracks look like a single line of footprints, like their feet are placed almost directly one in front of the other.  This reflects a straight forward expression of creative feminine energy.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Adopt the Pace of Nature. Her secret is Patience.”

What I love about blessings is they bring joy and gratitude. They cause us to stop for a moment, and pause before the next breath. In that moment we are totally present and aware. I almost cried, seeing the fox, because the Love I felt was filling my heart so deeply, it was hard to contain. So, I got to ride into the New Year on a wave of gratitude.

For the next several days, every morning at first light on the pond, there were frozen droplets in the willows.  As the willows swayed in the crisp early breeze, the droplets became twinkling sparkles, like Christmas trees with blinking white lights. Sparks of Light formed in water. I wish they could have shown up on the pictures I took, but alas, you will have to imagine it, and I will remember it in my heart.

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Often, while walking in Nature, each step is a blessing.

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This design stopped me in my own tracks. It looks like tracks of an animal, perhaps dragging something, then sculpted by wind. Our path inward is beautiful, as we drop what we are dragging and see who we really are. Then joy carries us.

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In this icicle blessing, I am reminded that each drop builds onto the stalactites of our character. As the last vestiges of ego hold on, the Light of Love melts it, drop by drop, as old wounds from lifetimes ago heal, and fall away.

DSC_0032 - Copy_01In contemplative dreamlike reflection, the waters of our own being may become frozen for a moment. Ideas, taking form, wait to reconnect with the fluidity of our Souls.

I had a blessing the other night, in a dream. I was at some large gathering of people, and suddenly all sound stopped. I looked up, and walking toward me (very much like when you see reunions of returning veterans and their families on tv) was my beloved brother who died 30 years ago. He was healthy, happy and just glowing with love. He took me in his arms and I sobbed and sobbed with joy. It was so good to see him and feel him! It still felt real as I awoke.

Perhaps it was the fox, and seeing the in between places that gave me the gift of seeing my brother, David.

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Rumi says, “There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.”

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Even the talkative Steller’s Jay listens to the silence of the falling snow.

Rumi also said, “Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself.”

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A magpie visited the other day, blessing me with this message. Though situations may seem black and white at first, in a different Light, shades of color appear.

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In sunlight, their wing and tail feathers become iridescent blue and green.

This little junco – soft and thoughtful, reminds me of compassion and forgiveness. The blessing of Grace.

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The love and happiness I feel when I am with family and friends, and of course my dog, Mattie are huge blessings.

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There is a whole day out here, guys! Please come play stick with me! Why are you inside?

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Her ears flap like wings when she runs.

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These are my blessings of the New Year so far, and we are not even 3 weeks in!

Thank you Jamie for this opportunity, and may the Wave of Blessings continue!

Happy 2016 Everyone!  May you be filled with Peace, Joy, Love, Grace and a multitude of Sacred Moments. May you have innumerable occasions to laugh wholeheartedly.

 

 

 

 

Grosbeak REpertoire

My friend, Sindy (Happy 3rd blogiversary Sindy!) from bluebutterfliesandme offered a”Retro” challenge for this Mercury Retrograde, which ends June 11th. Since a positive aspect of Mercury Retrograde asks us to look back, a lot of people are reblogging wonderful older posts.  However, since I have only been blogging for about 7 months, I didn’t feel that putting up an old post would be that Retro. Sindy said – “Just post something that starts with ‘re’ like renew or refresh’” So, I am answering the challenge with a post that I thought about doing about 3 months ago (so, sort of retro) when the evening grosbeaks were here. I took a lot of pictures of them, and they just made me laugh. We are all trying to make Mercury Retrograde fun­ since it can be so frustrating!!  It will be a miracle if I am even able to post this because my computer keeps freezing.  You guessed it – Mercury Retrograde!!

So in light of Sindy’s challenge, to look back and make it fun, this is what Mercury, in its sillier Self suggested I create.  So here you go.

 

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I’m a happy bird!

 

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Dude, check out that chick on that tree to my right. No wait! Don’t look…she’s looking over here.

 

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I’m kind of full. I can hardly swallow another seed.

 

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Ok, but you have to promise not to tell!  Any. One.

 

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Oh, Man!! Hahahaha! Stop! You’re killin’ me! Hahaha! Please stop! I can’t even get up!

 

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Shut up!

 

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What are they all talking about? The meaning of life? Are we here for a reason?

 

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Dude!  What’s with the photo bomb?!

 

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Huh….she seems mad.  Was it something I said?

 

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Making up is nice.

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Yay! I am jumping for joy.

Or

“Funny how in dreams your feet never touch the earth.”  Heart

 

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Lalala…My, oh my, what a beautiful day. Plenty of sunshine coming my way. Zippity do da, Zippityay!

 

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Wow. It’s like that seed is in mid air.

 

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Whaaaaat?

 

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Girl’s night out tonight, Gladys?

 

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You look different.  Do you mind if I just peck you on the head?

 

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17 – 4. Ummmmmm….I know this one….

 

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Thinkin’….thinkin’……thinkin’

 

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13! Yeah, that’s it.  13  Phew!

 

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Two girls.  Wow, my lucky day.

 

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Noooooo!  She likes him!

 

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Quit looking up her skirt!

 

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I hate it when I blush!

 

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You must like that Tai Chi move. You do it all the time!

 

Happy Mercury Retrograde, folks! I know it’s exasperating and hard. Try to enjoy it. It’s almost over! It can be fun to hang out with friends you haven’t seen for a while, watch old movies, or let yourself be distracted when you have technology glitches, and just do something different. Let’s take Sindy’s and my astrologer friend, Katrin’s advice and make Mercury Retrograde FUN!

 

 

 

For the Sheer Joy

Quack, quack, quack, quack! Even their descending quacking can sound like laughter.  No wonder they make me laugh so. You know already how I feel about duck butts if you have been following my stories. I laugh. Out loud.

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Ducks just seem to know how to have a good time.  This time of year, they appear happy as can be.  It is warm, the ice has melted on the pond, the males and females have congregated and it is time for play. They chase each other about, splashing and quacking, and sometimes running on the water flapping their wings. I can’t help but feel good watching them. Again, if you accuse me of anthropomorphizing, I am fine with that.

I watched a pair for a long time one day. They were separate from the others. It was an intimate sort of moment, with soft quacking, chasing and splashing. They would dive under together, be gone for a few seconds and come up together. Then the female started rolling. For the sheer joy of it; over and over she went horizontally, her little orange feet kicking each time she rolled onto her back and paused there. Then somersaults – over and under, head over webbed feet. Then the two glided past me, the sun refracting his brilliant iridescent blue/green head feathers, and her soft brown camouflage. I watched their peaceful togetherness, their reflections bright in the water.

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Parenting styles differ among ducks. Sometimes the male stays to help, but usually not. About three years ago, I watched two mama mallards over a few weeks. Both started out with seven ducklings. I can never get over how cute those little yellow, brown and black ducklings are. One mother, maybe a first time mom, just couldn’t control the little ones.  She would call and call and they paid no attention to her. They stayed fairly close, but spread out, playing together. She seemed at a loss as to how to get them together. She seemed to say, “kids! Um…..kids…uh..come on now, KIDS!!” They would disregard her completely, until she was finally able to physically one by one gather them into a line.

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Found on Pinterest

The other mother, only had to softly quack once, and they all came immediately and formed not a line, but a close knit clump. From afar, they looked like another adult duck. I thought that was one smart mama!

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Found on Pinterest

 

Each day, sadly, the mother with the scattered ducklings had one less little duck in her line up. Snapping turtles, raccoons, herons, large bull frogs, coyotes, hawks, owls and weasels could easily capitalize on her lack of skill.

The other mother, incredibly still had seven. I loved the very soft “baap baap baap baaps” she made to them, and the little peeps back. Someday, I really ought to record a duck and duckling conversation and play it back to myself while falling asleep.  It is soothing to my heart.

Once one got separated from the family and was frantically and loudly peeping in panic. She did not go to it. She silently stayed with the others. She couldn’t leave them vulnerable. The sound drew a coyote near. She flew near it and feigned injury, quacking in pretend pain. The coyote chased her. She easily got away, then came back through the reeds for the other duckling, and again there were seven.

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Found on Pinterest

 

The creek dried up that summer. The adults all left, having lost their broods. I looked for our one family every day, but finally assumed them all dead. About six weeks later, walking by the dried and cracked soil of the creek, I saw them. Eight full sized ducks that all looked alike, except one was slightly larger – the mom and her seven children waddling through the tall grasses. Against all odds.  I was thrilled! Soon after, the rains came and filled the creek, giving them the ability to run along the water to take off. I like happy endings.

I have such mixed feelings about them nesting here now. We have water in the creek now, but will it last? I have learned to let that go. If they make it, wonderful. If not…well, I need to love compassionately and unconditionally, not sentimentally. Otherwise, it hurts too much.

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According to Ted Andrews, ducks have been known to symbolize emotional comfort and protection. Because of their connection to water, they are linked to the feminine energies, the astral plane and to the emotional states of humans. They can remind us to care for our own emotional natures. As they eat by dipping their heads into the water (hence duck butts), they can remind us that our emotions can give us sustenance. They can be very amiable and display a wide variety of emotions. All ducks have grace upon the water, reminding us to handle our emotions with grace and ease.

They do not move well on land. This could reflect an inability to feel comfortable with most people in your life. They may reflect a need to find comfort in your own element and with those of like mind and spirit. The mallard is a very prolific duck, and are a nice animal to meditate upon this time of year.

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Found on Pinterest

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As you study them, you will find ways of applying their habits to your own life.

Tomorrow is Easter, and I think of the surviving duck family. I thought them all dead, but they came alive and rose to the sky.  May we all die to the old, and resurrect a new life, full of possibilities and dreams. May we be blessed throughout the year with new energy and a birthing of our true heart’s desire. May our thoughts be clear and loving as we create our world. May the waters of life flow through us as we meditate and pray for Love, Happiness, Peace, Hope, Grace and Ease.

Happy Easter everyone!

If you would like to know the pre-Christian roots of Easter as a celebration of the Spring Equinox, Sindy published a great history on her blog this morning. Read here.

Goose Music

_DSC0068 - Copy_01Yay!  The geese are back! There are two pair so far.  We used to have the same 11 every year. Five pair and one lone goose. They came seven years in a row. They tried rearing young each year, but there has been less and less water, so they were successful only one year.  Each year we see babies, and are hopeful.

Last year we watched the mama on the nest, and the male keeping vigilant watch – just far enough from the hidden nest to draw attention away.

The babies are yellow when they hatch. Right away, the parents bring them to the meadow by the creek.

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It seems like the day they come out is the same day the yellow dandelions start to bloom. Perfect camouflage. After a couple of weeks, they turn a fluffy gray, just at the same time the dandelions grow their fluffy gray seed heads.

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From pinterest

 

Geese are such solid parents. One watches, while the other eats and teaches. Then they switch roles. If a predator nears, there is no panic in the goose parent’s stride. They just round the goslings up into a line – one parent leading, the other heading up the rear, gently urging the little ones along, who suspect nothing. With calm, skillful determination, they get them into the safety of the water, without scaring them into a scatter.

goose parents

From pinterest

 

Geese talk about everything. Everything.

“ Honk, aaawww, aaawww, honk honk ticlic aaow”

“Huuumph, aawwww. Oooooh honk, ewwup….”

“ Should we go to the other pond?”

“I don’t know.  What do you think?”

“ Yes, let’s do it. I am becoming annoyed by all these ducks!”

“ But, the other geese.  They may take our spot.”

“Well, we can come back and chase them away.”

“Ok, lets go!”

“Alright. I am ready. Let’s go then.”

“Now? Right now.”

“Yes, let’s go now.”

“OK”

“Ok!”

“OK!!  Let’s go!”

“Let’s go now!!!!!”

“OK!!!!!!!  LET’S GO!!!!!!!!!!!!

“We are going!”

“We are flying. We are flying. We are flying.”

“Yes, yes, yes, yes!”

“Let’s land. Let’s land.”

“We are landing, we are landing.”

“Other geese are here.”

The other geese start talking too and there is a big chase, and one pair comes back making a beautiful water ski landing in perfect synchronicity. They have a lot to say about it all.

Fortunately for us, we love the sound.

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One spring day, when the 11 were here, one pair flew over to some flat rocks on the other side of the pond. Even though they argue about territory all the time, the other pair in the pond was not having it. They just thought it was wrong, wrong, wrong for that pair to be on those rocks. They started barking at the pair on the rocks. “Honk! Honk, honk squeep! Mutter mutter, squeep! Honk, honk!”

I know, I know…just a little more anthropomorphizing. Please just indulge me for a moment longer.

“You can’t be over there!”

“Yes, we can!”

“It’s just not right! Geese don’t sit on rocks on the other side of the pond! Get back in here where it is safe!”

“Oh brother! Honk, honk! We are fine. Leave us be, mutter mutter,”said the pair on the rocks.

“No, no honk, squeep! Don’t make us come over there!”

“Nah, we are fine, mutter, mutter honk.”

The arguement escalated with no you can’ts and yes we cans for about 45 minutes. Finally, the pair in the pond flew to the rocks and chased them back to the pond.

“Ok, ok…whatever! Jeez…mutter mutter aaww.”

Then all was peaceful again. Soft chirring, clucking, errrup, aawww sounds, then graceful silence.

Until… “Let’s go eat in the field.”

“You want to go eat in the field?” etc. etc. Talking, talking, talking, louder and louder, the four flew to the field, and then had to talk for a while about their exciting 50 ft excursion to eat alfalfa and dandelions and grasses.

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Another aspect that I find interesting, is when there is a common enemy, they all come together. They can be in the middle of a territorial disagreement, but the second another goose is in some kind of danger, it is all for one and one for all. United we stand.  My dog and I were crossing the field, and all 11 geese formed a line and started slowly marching toward us until we changed our direction.

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I once saw the 11 chase off a herd of 30 elk. Shouting and dive bombing. The elk finally gave up. Even toward coyotes, I have seen them take a stand.

We haven’t seen the 11 in three years. They must have given up after losing their young so many times.  I don’t know if these four used to be part of that flock, or if these are new ones that don’t realize the water often dries up.

It is snowing as I write this so, maybe, maybe, maybe we will have water through the summer. Hope. I love hope, but it can be a little mean.

There are a lot of predators here: coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, snapping turtles, raccoons, bears, weasels, snakes, hawks and owls. If the water dries up, the geese don’t have a chance with their babies.

I know and trust that Nature knows what She is doing, but I do believe climate change is at least 75% human caused. Sometimes I feel hopeless becaues I don’t see us changing all that much.  Coal and fossil fuels. Why are there not solar panels on every commercial building, and on every covered parking structure? Why are new houses being built without even passive solar capacities? Why are we still using gasoline? I do in my own truck. Why are there green golf courses where water is scarce? Ok…soap box.  Sorry, but I struggle with this. I am happiest when there is enough water to keep the creek and valley alive. It is mostly out of my control. I am doing all I know how to do.

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This is my biggest happiness challenge. I can’t bear what we are doing to our Mother Earth. The greed! It hurts me. I have talked a lot about true Happiness not being affected by “upset because.” Here is where I flunk at this. I do get upset because of all this, yet I continually try to keep my inner Peace and Happiness through it, though it breaks my heart.  The prediction is that our creeks here in New Mexico will dry more and more. That is not ok with me. Today, however – and I am big on being in the moment – today we have water in the creek and the geese are here. Yay! Love, gratitude, trust and happiness.

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Geese are loyal animals, and mate for life. They communicate profusely. They teach us about communication, especially through story- telling. They use sky, water and land each day – the elements of earth, air and water. Air symbolizes the mind, thought, wisdom, freedom and breath. By working with our breath, we can mitigate our stress, and also learn to empower our thoughts. Air separates the Earth and the Heavens, a realm in which prayer and visualization can become manifest.

Water is the environment of the emotional, the creative, the unconscious, dreams, and intuition. Geese fly from both water and land, encouraging us to rise above our thoughts and feelings, above our struggles, to lift ourselves up; also to develop higher forms of intuitive discrimination. We can rise to new heights, where there are endless possibilities, and be grounded while doing so. Geese also wade in the water.  Their heads are in the air (wisdom), legs in the emotional/intuitive realm, and feet in the grounding mud.

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Their eyes are on opposite sides of their head, giving them great range of vision. They have keen eyesight both close and far away. This can remind us to be mindful of vision in all directions, including past, present and future, physical and spiritual.

Their necks are long and flexible, a bridge between body and mind – head and heart. A link between physical consciousness and spiritual consciousness.

They are very graceful on the water, as we can also be present in our emotions with grace and compassion. They put their heads under the water to eat roots growing there. We can also nourish ourselves with our feelings, creativity and intuition.

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They are migratory birds, and use natural currents to gain altitude. They know when to start, what route to take and where they are going. We can learn from this for our own migrations (inner and outer). When they travel long distances, they shift formation, creating wind drafts that make it easier for those flying behind.  They take turns to conserve their energy. The ones in front pay it forward.  When one of us makes a quest in life, or we heal or shift something inside, it becomes easier for others to follow suit. The healing energy is added to the collective.

The birds don’t fly directly behind one another, so all can see. They offer us greater vision, both physical and spiritual. The V formation reflects an aiming to new possibilities, like an arrow. Let your imagination fly, and feel the joy as you manifest your dreams. Feeling it will raise your vibration. Make your creative visualizations fun!

In the newness spring, with the equinox upon us, we can learn a thing or two from the geese. As we let go of the old and open to the new, may our lives be happy!  May this be a new birth, awakening and renewal for all of us in this time of balance between light and dark – in the water sign of Pisces.

Happy Spring Equinox everyone!

Happy Autumnal Equinox to those in the Southern Hemisphere!

 

Spring Snow

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Happiness is a romp in a fresh spring snow.

 

_DSC0174Suspended energy, frozen in its path.

Not stuck – merely stopped a while in place before going on.

A contemplative moment in time.

Emotional burdens break free; sometimes released one drip at a time, or a cathartic dropping of layers into the oneness, washed clean.

In stillness; creative opportunities existing in the waters of our own being come alive.  Dreams awaken and are found to be valid and sound.

Ideas taking form; waiting to reconnect to fluidness and the feminine aspects of life.  Creative, intuitive imaginative powers poised for action.

Water adjusts to its environment; shaping, shifting. We learn to adjust to change, to become adaptive to the flow of life, while at the same time knowing where and when to make ripples.

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A junco, warm in his feathery down, serenely confident in his ability to find food beneath the snow.

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A pine siskin fluffs out her feathers, peacefully but steadfastly finding seed.

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This little goldfinch doesn’t seem to mind the cold, and appears quite proud of his acquisition, looking much like a stogie in his mouth.

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The ice creeps between a rock and hard place, not stuck at all.

 

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_DSC0178Intuition is hard to hang on to at times, but is watered by our inner knowledge, just as this grass swallows each drip offered.

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A cold, harsh wind disrupts the silence and stillness.

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The red squirrel comes for one last visit (and meal) before he heads for his spring and summer home in higher country.

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Reflections of many colors – our many facets.

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I remember walking with a little 5 year old boy in the woods on a moist day, when suddenly the sun appeared. “Look!” He cried with utter amazement and wonder, as the light made prisms in the droplets.  “The trees are sprouting rainbows!”

Gazing into the crystalline ice, a moment of clarity. I write it down, as it can be gone in a flash. Moments of a dream or a vision, captured in color.

The rhythm and movement purifying the air, healing and re-energizing – empowering the realm of dreams and emotions.

Initiation, baptism, a sacrament of tears. Watery clearing of winter’s hibernation.

The earth is half water.  We are three quarters water. Research has been done on emotions projected into jars of spring water. Words powered by emotions of love, peace, beauty, happiness sent to one; hatred, anger, mean sarcasm sent to another. After being flash frozen, the positive jar created beautiful cohesive, perfect geometric snowflake patterns. The other jar created partially formed, non- geometric shapes. (Masuru Emoto). How much do we create with our thoughts and emotions? What energy are we putting out there in any given moment? Our thoughts and feelings affect physical reality.

Mindfulness.

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The next day, a rain came and washed away all the snow.

The earth drinks. I can feel the gratitude and joy of the trees, and it fills my spirit.

Maybe this year, we will have baby geese and ducks in the cattail reeds.

 

Whale of a Time

On this snowy New Year’s Day, though I do love the snow, I think about the warmth of Hawaii, and the humpback whales, who are there now.  It is their time to mate and to calf, having made their 6,000 mile trek from Alaska, where they eat all summer.

This story takes place a few years ago off the big island of Hawaii.

I am on a boat with my good friends, Carlos and Margaret Eyles. Carlos has come to take some whale pictures. Margaret and I, to experience the beautiful cobalt blue of the water and to see whatever wildlife shows up. We see a whale breach about 200 yards starboard. Margaret and I are hot, so we jump in to cool off. She swims off in one direction, and I go in another.

Often, I have stayed under water for as long as I can, to hear the whales singing far away. But I have always dreamed of hearing them sing close to me, to feel the vibration of it. Only males sing, and they all sing the same song.  All over the world, the same song. They change it over time. The song at the beginning of the winter is quite different than the one at the end of winter.  They don’t sing all summer, while they eat, and when the song starts up again the following winter, it sounds the same as the year before, and then it changes, a phrase at a time,  A song from this year would be unrecognizable 5 years from now.
I have also dreamed of having eye contact with a whale, an inter-species connection with something so large and so ancient. They are known to be larger than anything on earth ever.  They are bigger than the largest known dinosaur…the size of 30 large elephants.

I look down, and see something as big as an 18 wheeler going by about 200 feet below me. It keeps passing and passing….and passing. How can it be so big? …and passing. Still passing! It is followed closely by a Volkswagen van. A mom and calf. I am ecstatic to see these shadows below me. I listen to them talking to each other. The frequencies are as high and as low as I can hear. Then an even bigger shape appears below me. It begins to float upward. I am full of anticipation as it nears.

I am struck by the enormity of it, and my excitement becomes slightly tainted by fear. Its size is almost beyond comprehension.  If he keeps coming up, and doesn’t want me here, I am toast. If he doesn’t see me, and hits me accidentally, I am toast. It keeps coming up, and my awareness goes to my breath, which suddenly sounds quite loud through my snorkel. Then louder, Louder and LOUDER! I am hyperventilating. I try to calm myself and surrender to the experience, letting go of fear and settling into love.  I am afraid. Ok, self, what is the worst that could happen? I could die. Are you willing to die for this experience? Um…Yes! Yes, I am. I then go directly into my heart and let go of all fear, because….what a way to go! I know, stupid, right? Maybe. It is such a strange feeling – being on the edge of love and fear – and going back and forth between the two. I succeed in remaining in my heart, and am just beaming love to this whale.

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photo by Carlos Eyles

The whale is fully in sight now and still coming toward me. Just when it seems I am about to end up on this whale’s back as it rises beneath me, he does this very slow, very deliberate balletic Tai Chi move, missing my face with his fin by inches. He circles me five times, enveloping and infusing me with direct, focused eye to eye contact, as I keep turning to meet his gaze. I am transfixed. My Soul awakens, and all walls come down. I find myself melting into this whale. It is all there is in the world in this moment – the connection between us. He comes closer still with exquisite grace, and slowly turns over, so we are belly to belly. I am not that much bigger than his eye.  I am close enough to touch, but I do not. I feel such love for this whale, that I begin to cry, which doesn’t really work with a snorkel, so I contain the love in my body and continue to beam it to the whale.

I am needed on the boat, so I begin to swim away. The whale follows me, still belly to belly. Just as I reach the boat, he vanishes. I guess he was seeing me home. I got back on the boat, and burst into tears.

Margaret had also cried, having swum with the mom and calf.

Later in the day, there is a second group of whales, the same distance away as the first.

Carlos and I jump in. They approach us. They dance with each other. It is a gentle, sensuous dance with movements I do not know.  The only thing I have to compare this to, again, is ballet and Tai Chi. It is so slow and graceful.  How can these giant creatures be so graceful?!  There is no jerkiness or wasted gesture. The pace is smooth and intentioned.  It is peaceful and loving. I am struck by their beauty, and feel honored to witness their romance.  Another whale joins the dance, which adds a competitive element between two males.  The energy changes.  I begin to feel tense, as the female puts me between herself and one of the males, as if to protect herself from the rivalry. Soon though, both males turn upside down and start singing to her. She settles down and places herself horizontally under their vertical bodies. The sound is strangely haunting, but very loud. I feel as if there are huge wind chimes inside my heart and lungs. I am stunned and unable to move as I am filled with vibrations of bliss. I am needed on the boat again, so I leave the song, but it stays with me to this day. On the way back, the wind on our wet bodies is cold. Margaret looks at my blue lips, goose bumped skin and uncontrollable shivering, and says, “You look freezing.”

“I so don’t care,” I reply smiling. We laugh until it hurts.

I believe a healing took place in my lungs that day, and two lifelong dreams fulfilled.

Loving Atlantic Spotted Dolphins

20 years ago in September

Being in the middle of the sea – no land in sight.  Azure blue water and sky.

“Dolphins!” Margaret shouts. “On the bow wave!”

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The boat slowly comes to a stop, and we jump in. I am so excited. I have wanted to swim with dolphins my whole life – ever since Flipper. I still remember all the words to that TV show theme song. “They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightening….”

We are swimming around each other – the dolphins and I – checking each other out, beaming love.  We dive together, breathe together and go back under for more dancing, swimming in circles, looking in each other’s eyes. The water temperature is perfect, and so clear. I hear them squeak, sing, hold long notes, buzz, and make a clicking sound that is their sonar, checking us out.  I can feel the sonar.

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The older they are, the more spots they have. They have perpetual smiles. At first, they all look alike, but then you can tell them all apart, each one distinctive.

I left all my stress back on the dock in Florida last night.  It feels good to relax. A guy on the boat, Carlos Eyles, a well- known under water photographer, taught me how to free dive this morning. I am grateful for this, as it allowed me to dance with the dolphins today. I had only floated around on the surface, while snorkeling, watching the ocean life below. Free diving changes everything!

There are 8 of us on the boat. I came with my closest friend, Kris.  She took the pictures you see. We talk about our encounters.  Everyone’s stories are so sweet. We laugh about the thought of them doing the same thing – talking about their encounters with us. “Did you see the one with the long legs? He was fun. How about the one with the really long fins and long flowing hair?” “Yeah, I had really good eye contact with that one. Not sure if it was male or female.” “They don’t seem to understand our language. A couple of them sort of did. What are those funny things on their faces?”

One woman said she had been playing with one and it started shrieking, and went to the surface and jumped out of the water. I too, remember shrieking with delight.  It is so special that it is the dolphin’s choice to play with us.  Nobody is feeding them, or coaxing them.  They just want to play and have meaningful inter-species connections, just like we do.

I touched one. I sort of couldn’t help it.  We swim with our hands behind our backs, so as not to seem invasive. He or she came so close, I felt my touch was invited. It felt like rubber, sort of, but softer with some give to it.  The eye contact is extraordinary.

My heart is completely open.  It would be nice to feel like this all the time – so positive and free. Awareness in the moment. They are an inspiration to be at one with all Consciousness.

A few days later

This may not be the best time of year to be here – hurricane season.

Big storm last night. Azure water turned black in minutes. Gales of wind, sheets of rain that feel like glass hitting my face – like, “Ow! I just got hit by a piece of rain!” Giant lightning bolts across the sky, followed very shortly by huge claps of thunder. Everyone else went into the cabin, but I tied myself to a pole and experienced the whole storm.  I just didn’t want to miss it. We would rise to the top of a wave, then fall 20 feet, and hit the water hard. Some waves we went through, covering the deck (and me) with water.  It was majorly exciting.  Everyone else got sick in the boat, but I was exhilarated! When all settled down, and I untied myself, the deck was filled with fish.

A beautiful sunset after the storm – watching dolphins jump through pink, blue and purple surf.

The next morning, a mother brings her newborn. It has no spots.  She helps him or her to the surface for air. She doesn’t let us too close at first, but it is such an honor that she trusts us enough to let us see.  Already this kid wants to play. The mom reminds me of a human mother explaining to her child about dogs – some are friendly and some not, so always be cautious. She brings her baby over to me, and lets the baby swim between herself and me. We look in each other’s eyes.  Damn, it’s frustrating to have to come up for air. I wish I could stay down longer! With only 50% lung capacity, I only have about 26 seconds. Seems like longer, though, like time changes under water.

 

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Dolphins seem so loving, playful, wise and free.  They don’t hold on to their feelings.  They experience them, then let them go. They are good role models that way. I want to be more like them.  Let go sooner.  No getting stuck in negativity, apathy or fear.

These beings have completely opened my heart.  It is so full, and hard to contain, that tears come. I stand on the bow, our last night and watch the moonbeams and star beams in the water. Then suddenly there is a weird sort of shininess. “Phosphorescence,” the captain says, and we all jump in and swirl around in it. Every movement creates more glowing, swirling, dazzling, glittering light. Seems like magic.

Off the boat, I continue to feel the rock and roll – especially in enclosed places, like bathrooms. I still don’t have balance the next day.  My sea legs trick me and I bounce off walls and have “wooze” attacks. All I can think about is when can I go back?

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East Boundary Beavers

It is dusk.  They swim together across the pond to a tasty patch of cattails.  They dive for the roots, come up together, and chew the wads that they hold in their long orange-nailed fingers.  They roll around, holding each other for a few moments, until one floats silently to a willow stand, cuts four plants – chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp – with its very long orange front teeth, then disappears seamlessly with the willow bouquet, into the lodge for the kits.

A little while later, she is seen floating in stillness.  Peaceful, in no hurry, she watches.

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Then more willows are cut, the small branches discarded, to float downstream to the dam, to be woven later.  She eats the bark, like an ear of corn, manipulating and rotating it with her hands.

They both swim to the dam for their nighttime vocation of building, weaving alders and willows, and patching with mud and rock.  He clutches a wad of mud he has just dug to his chest, swims to the chosen spot and pats it into the dam with his hands.  She brings a rock in just the same way and places it strategically against a leak.

Each evening, the beavers eat first, but are always doing at least two things at a time – shaping sticks for the dam, while eating the bark. The original multi-taskers. They keep the water table high. They attenuate floods. They prune the willows perfectly, so that they grow back plentifully to use for the dams, lodges and for feeding their families.

How do they decide which dam to construct, patch or change on any given night? Is the plan to work on the lodge tonight? It all seems so architecturally planned in advance, their vision and foresight astounding. I can just imagine them, glasses on their noses, consulting the blueprint that they created. They get so much done every night, yet they never seem to be in a hurry. Always deliberate, but always serene. I aspire to the cooperative way in which they work, as well as their tranquil steadfastness.

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All the other wildlife are dependent on these sleek, shoe- button- eyed, large nosed and round- eared creatures with the big flat scaly tails and bright orange teeth and nails.  The wetland is here because of them.  This whole valley was influenced by them before they were trapped out in in the mid 1800’s. They are a “keystone species,” meaning they are central to the survival of many.

There was an effort from 1930 – 1950, to reintroduce them, but beavers are now considered a nuisance, and hated by many.  However, some of us know how beneficial to the land and ecosystem they are, not to mention our hearts. We appreciate that our neighbors on both sides love them, and understand their role.

The first year we were here (we bought our land in 2004), there were two families of beavers – one at either side of our land, just over each boundary fence.  They both had a lodge, and they both had babies.  There were no beavers on our land, only old abandoned remnants of dams.  We would gaze longingly at the neighbors’ ponds and wish that we too could have beavers on our land.

We enjoyed visiting the lodge closest to our camp site (on the east side of our land) every evening. It was exciting to watch them, to listen to them talk to each other, and to share direct eye contact with them as they swam in circles, studying us.

An adult would appear first, circle the pond, then dive under and back into their lodge to have a family discussion about us.  “Eeee eeee eeee. Mmmmm, ah mmm eeee eee.  Are they safe? Are they the ones that were here last night? Eee, oh mmm?” Their sound reminded me of a cross between guinea pigs and a litter of new puppies. Who knows, not that I would EVER anthropomorphize, but they could just as easily have been saying, “Gosh Dad, are you going to bring us some willows or what?  We’re hungry!”

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Then up would pop a youngster, who would swim briskly around, dive, come up again, and invite play.  Pretty soon the whole family was swimming together, eating some, carrying willow sticks to the dam, and putting new mud and sticks on the lodge.  Then inevitably, BOOM – the loud tail slap, and they would all disappear in a flash.

We enjoyed that family for a couple of years, but during the summer of the third year, the creek dried up. People whose families have lived here for generations said they had never seen it dry up completely. The beavers had just started to build a dam on our side of the fence.  Though beavers are good at survival, they are totally vulnerable without water. Sadly, we watched the family disappear one by one.  We were sad for a long time over that loss. The lodge, without maintenance, fell apart, as did the dams. I don’t know if they were killed by coyotes, bears or lions, but their predators too, were desperate without water, and needed food. The next fall, a rain event washed the dams away, leaving only a few sticks, chewed in beautiful patterns.

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I look forward to telling you about all the beavers on the west side, on another day. Also, about all the beavers we have had and have on our land.  They have been a great source of joy for us – the beavers themselves and the ecosystem they have created. It has been an interesting, fun, creative and funny dance – encouraging them, but also working with some of their more undesirable behaviors, and figuring out how to solve some of those differences.

We built our new house overlooking the west side pond, and the pond on our land, and have been watching them from our porch, and from the other side of the creek for several years now.

Though climate change has brought us many losses over the years – species lost, beaver colonies lost – today we have beavers. Today the wetland is full of water. Today, I am grateful. Hopefully, we will have lots of snow, and the ecosystem will enjoy a wet spring and summer.

I find it difficult to prevent my mood from being dependent on how much water we have in the creek. I strive and choose to be happy, not “because” of anything, but happiness for its own sake. Climate change challenges me on that score. I work with that one a lot.

Look for the next beaver installment called, “Beavers are Great, but They Ain’t Free,” but first, there are other animals to talk about.

Thank you Brett Housego for taking the picture of the beaver while you were here visiting from Scotland.