I’ve had to remind myself lately, that I have dedicated myself to the spirit of this planet. Almost daily now I say my prayers to my ancestors and guides and to the two aspects of the Creator; yin and yang – Mother Goddess, Father God… and to Pachamama; Mother Earth.
I keep complaining that I can’t hear anything at all – don’t hear spirits or ghosts or gods or anything other than the voices in my head. That I believe they are all there is a leap of faith. A very strong leap, but still a leap.
Yet it struck me last week that I need to pay closer attention, when these things happened:
We saw a dog down by the river on one of our weekend walks into the forest. A big beautiful black dog who pounced into the water suddenly from the tree-line behind us, took a bunch of big grateful drinks and lumbered over to us to sniff us out quickly and then moved on back to the trail. I noticed he had a harness on, with a leash trailing behind him and I said, as I always do when I see a child or a dog seemingly alone somewhere, ‘where are his people?’. My husband said not to worry, this was an off-leash area and there are dogs everywhere, just let it go you worry too much. I was unsure because I looked up the trail and couldn’t see anyone – usually the people are close behind, or they are calling for the dog. But, I let it go and we moved on.
And yet surely enough, we came across the couple way up the trail in the trees who asked us, ‘Have you seen a big black dog?’. …
I found a baby crow, out of its nest, with a mutilated leg. He couldn’t fly yet and was busily, and seemingly happily eating bees at the foot of a big cedar tree. When I went near to check him out, the mother crow yelled at me from above. It was good to see she was around, this meaning the baby was not abandoned. It’s common for juvenile crows to leave the nest and spend a week to ten days on the ground before learning to fly, with their mothers looking out for them (this is why you get dive bombed by crows in the spring). However, it’s not cool if the crow is injured because of risk of infection etc, and as such you are supposed to get it to an animal emerg place if you can – I did call my local wildlife people and ask them what to do. Buuut, I had two babies with me, one on my back, one in a stroller, and not happening to have a box with me in my back pocket to put the crow in, and because also I don’t drive and so had no way to drive the crow in somewhere, I left him there, telling myself I’d come back later with a friend with a car blah bla-blah.
I didn’t make it back there for a week, and then found no sign of the little crow. Who knows if he made it or not – there are hundreds of crows in my neighbourhood – I haven’t seen that little bad leg yet.
I found the remains of a cat, sitting in broad sunlight, right in the middle of the morning and my neighbour’s backyard. The remains were nothing more than a beautiful little tail and bits a pieces of vertebrate and flesh. I felt sad for the poor kitty, who had obviously been eaten by coyotes. This is very common where I live. We actually have two dens that I know of right in my neighbourhood. Gargantuan coyotes, the size of small wolves, hunting under the ‘missing cat’ posters stapled to every telephone poll.
It was rather odd, because such things usually creep me out and/or bring me to tears, but this time I felt a detached kind of fascination. Not with blood and gore, but just with the tail itself. I was thinking that it must have been a beautiful kitty, when this voice in my head said,
‘Pick me up! Take me with you!’ It was a high-pitched, excited little voice.
And I was like, ‘What? Ew! That’s gross Skye you weirdo. Why would you want to do that?’ and that was that. I said little prayer and moved on, leaving the remains for my neighbour to pick up. Weeell, I had two babies with me, one on my back and one in the stroller, and no plastic bags to pick up the remains with, and besides, what of it was my neighbour’s cat? Shouldn’t I leave it for him to find?
It was the cat that got me – when later it occurred to me in a flash that the right thing to do for that little cat was to make sure that his remains were buried properly, and not just thrown in the garbage. That even a ritual of some kind, a prayer to take away his fear or anger at being eaten in such a way, would have been appropriate and respecting of his life and person…and man I wished I had picked up those remains. I was kicking myself. Doubly so when I found the poster describing this cat, and with a phone number and a plea to bring him home if he was found. How could I call them, not having the remains to show them so they could know if it was really their cat?
And then it struck me. That these three incidents were opportunities for me to engage with the natural world around me in a meaningful way. Opportunities that I missed because I was tired, I was overburdened with my day-to-day-blinders-on responsibilities, I was not really listening.
And I felt all of a sudden, like I had been tested, and well, failed. The natural world was calling upon me in the roll of a steward, one which I have pledged to fulfill. I worried about the dog for days, lost in the forest, and about the crow and the cat-spirit. All of these beings, I had the power to help in some way, but ultimately walked by instead.
So this is what I learned – all three times I relied on my husband to deal with the sitch. I asked him to go check on the crow, I asked him to go get the cat remains, I allowed him to stop me from going after the dog. I also doubted my own instincts with the cat. And this to me is just more stuff about me not really getting in the driver’s seat. I guess to be a driver, you need to believe that you know how to drive and be willing to take on the responsibilities that come along with it too. Oh my god – what me? work? do stuff? be responsible to anyone but myself – aw man! the teenager in me shudders.
But really, is it that? Or is it that somewhere someone told me I was actually incapable of being the driver, being a leader, having anything of value to offer the world… And if I believe that, where, oh how could I learn to trust in my own abilities? And so I shrink, when someone tells me, no this is the way it is – I go, oh yeah of course you are right, I am wrong, that is all we need to know. And I doubt myself and, I feel exhausted when demands are made of me – I want to curl up in my bed and sleep and sleep.
Interesting psycho-babble for me.
At any rate, I am asking for help with being mindful and in the present, even amidst my busy day-to-day responsibilities. And I’m on the lookout for the next test.
Skye on her Isle