About a year ago, the neighbour’s huge bunnies showed up on the property. Zabrina saw them and exclaimed: “All the animals come here!”. She is right about that. (She is always right when it comes to the animals!)
In addition to the horses, cats, and chickens who live here, an enormous number of birds live on the property. Probably the largest presence is Alfred, the great horned owl. I feel honoured to have him here, as he is a magician. Alfred helps us see and hear what is not visible, nor said. Recently, a murder of crows mobbed Alfred, or, at least, they tried. Alfred simply remained perched on the same branch, unmoved by their anxiety and attacks. A powerful reminder to hold your ground and stay inner-focused.
Another beautiful bird who has lived with us forever is the flicker. Her home is in the peak of the eaves of Zabrina’s cottage. I am fascinated by the colourful flicker. For me, she represents transitioning – something life is always asking us to do. According to Ted Andrews, the type of change ‘flicker’ represents is that of ‘growth and healing love’. How can one’s heart not swell in response to such a gift?
A sporadic visitor of flight is the pileated woodpecker. These fairly large birds feel ancestral to me, like they are bringing a wise, old energy to us. They remind us to follow our own rhythm, despite the wishes of others. Last year a pair spent quite a while on the land, drilling substantial holes into many of the big pines. I assume they were helping their stoic friends out by ridding the trees of bugs.
This winter an entire flock of cedar waxwings landed on the wild hedge in front of my office. It was breathtaking watching them fly in a tight flock across the sky – heart expanding. Another new bird to the property, who graced us at the bird feeder this year, was the red-winged blackbird. A while later, a rough winged swallow showed up. She simply sat and rested for quite a while. Daily visitors are the pair of downy woodpeckers – him with his shock of red on his head, and her in her modesty. The hummingbirds have recently returned, bringing joy, and adding to the cheerfulness the chickadees always share with us. Similarly, we are grateful for the hawks, and eagles who often fly overhead while the horses, Cara and I are working with clients.
For me, the birds all remind me to stay connected to the unseen, to Spirit. I feel their abundant presence intensifies the connection, and acts as a continual reminder of how the invisible is always available to support all of us.
On land there are many visitors. Both deer and coyote cross through the bottom pasture. This winter there was a deer taken down – a wild scene. Maybe too wild for the horses who then avoided going down the hillside for a while. There were cougar sightings this winter. So, perhaps the deer gave her life to sustain the cougar, as well as the coyote pack and many crows who feasted for a day or so. I wondered why the land needed the sacrifice, or maybe it was us humans who needed it…
Another wild visitor is the bear. In eleven years I have only actually seen him once. He was looking through the window of the cottage where guests were frying bacon. Just a little guy, perhaps hungry after a cold winter. More commonly I find the evidence of bear’s visits – poop, a broken plum tree branch, scattered garbage from the outside can… Ted Andrews tells us that bear “…is a reminder…to go within to awaken the power, but only by bringing it our into the open and applying it will the honey of life be tasted.” (p. 252).
Other wild messengers have been raccoon, and bobcat. A raccoon dexterously shoveled cat food into her mouth with her human-like hands one evening on the deck. A bobcat strolled around the far side of the house at various times spanning a few weeks. One day he even sat on the big tree bench by my office and stared at me. I am quite sure he was boasting about eating our then kitten, Elfje.
On the domestic scene are the neighbourhood dogs who show up when they have broken free from the confines of their own homes. They are always delighted with themselves. My favourite visitors are Koda, who spent a few sessions with our trauma recovery groups last Spring – the ladies loved her – and Kayla, a dog who spent one day and night with us after fleeing during a thunder storm. Both loving, loyal ladies – very soothing energy.
Less welcome, but VERY present are the one or two squirrels who make the property home. One is usually living in the roof of the chicken coop. They like to scream at Zaza, and also to interrupt me when I am talking to people in the outdoor arena – very annoying. Last winter I discovered they had stuffed pine cones under the tea house. I helped myself to many of them as kindling for the woodstove. They also stashed tons of walnuts in the old compost. So, we had a number of seedling walnut trees thanks to the ever active, and always preparing squirrels.
My current challenge are the marmots who have spilled over from the neighbour’s property. While Zabrina thinks they are cute and amusing to watch, Hektor, Zaza, and I all know they are trying to take over the world! Nevertheless, according to Ted Andrews these intrusive beings teach us to lucid dream and about the process of death and dying – both important to living fully.
A recent returnee is Mr Frog, who hangs out in the pond. Despite his loud voice, I like him – a solitary, undemanding guy. I also like that his energy brings fertility and abundance. With him around, the vegetable garden should do well! Frog energy is connected to transformation, which is what The Equine Connection aims to support in the people who access our offerings. Mr Frog also helps us to honour our emotions, as he is intimately connected to the water element.
A big presence on the property is the very many ants. While I actually have a positive childhood memory of watching the teamwork of a colony of ants as they built their empire in a crack in the sidewalk, I find their current presence in my life rather overwhelming. I have thanked them for their hard working energy, and their excellent teamwork that I so love, and have asked them to build their dreams outside of the buildings on the property!
Everyday I continue to observe and ponder the energy brought by a particular bird or animal. They enrich the substance of my life. The animals and birds are intimately connected to Mother Nature, who I dearly love. I feel the animals and birds support her in holding us humans in a loving embrace. An embrace I am always grateful for.