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Archive for June, 2016

SolsticeFullMoonLast night was the most beautiful full moon on the summer solstice. I’ve heard conflicting reports as to how long it has been since the two have coincided, some say it was in 1967 and others say it is 70 years ago. Either way, it was a powerful and rare event. It proved to be strong enough to take my Grandmother home. She was 3 days short of her 101st birthday. At the very time of her passing, we were having an enormous lightning storm. In countless cultures and myths lightning was ascribed as heralding the Divine. To me it is a representation of the power when heaven and earth unite. While Nain and I are much alike in that we spill on our clothes, say phrases incorrectly, love singing and are always writing. We are also opposite, in that she was an extrovert doer, I am an introvert thinker. With her now having more influence in the spirit world, may I take on her follow through in matters of writing.

To honor my dear Nain, may she rest in peace, I am including an essay I wrote in 2005, 11 years past…..

In June, our family celebrated my Grandmother’s 90th birthday. Nain (the name we grandchildren have always called her, meaning Grandmother in Welsh) was a very influential figure in my life. At the age of 39 she had three teenage daughters and a daily radio talk show for which she was responsible for gathering the guests, organizing the questions and hosting. At this very busy time in her life she found out that she was pregnant with my uncle Dave. This was the fifties and she had the lifestyle of a woman in the 21st century.

Nain is responsible for me discovering writing as a method of expressing my inner world. For that one thing alone, I can not thank her enough. Most of what I write sits in journals for only me to explore. But without having that outlet, which is often my method of prayer and meditation, I would likely be constricted in life, with no way out.

As a child, I felt misunderstood by Nain. Mainly because when we were together, my introverted personality was continually asked questions, and requested to speak up and look her in the eye when answering. She had me walk with books on my head in order to stand up straight and walk with purpose.

As I look at my Grandmother now, beautiful at age 90, I marvel at how all situations can be seen from various perspectives. In younger years, it seemed as though she didn’t know the true me, simply because she asked me to do what didn’t come naturally. Yet, as an adult I can see that she knew exactly what my personality needed in order to find strength among the world. By asking me to step outside my comfort zone, she gave me the courage to be more than what I thought myself to be.

By teaching me to look people in the eyes, Nain was purposely improving my ability to show respect for others. However, in many cases our teachers have no cognizance of their lessons for us. This does not make the teachings any less profound. Quite the contrary.

Have there been times in your life when you felt misunderstood at the moment it happened, only to find out later that the person or circumstance knew what you needed better than you did? If so, be grateful. If not, look again.

photo-4This photo was taken around the time I wrote the above. Please do love your family even when they drive you crazy. They won’t be around forever and either will you.

Many blessings to you all.

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A Carolina CrowAfter years of having Ravens in the neighborhood, a pair built a nest just behind our house. Ravens are larger than crows and have a distinctive croak to their caw. In his book Animal Speak, Ted Andrews says, “With Raven, human and animal spirits intermingle and become as one. This is reflected in its deep, rich shiny black. In blackness, everything mingles until drawn forth, out into the light…. Raven has the knowledge of how to become other animals and how to speak their languages.” For this, I’ve loved any sighting or croak of a Raven over the years and have been thrilled to see and hear them almost constantly currently. I usually know when someone they don’t like is around, a hawk for instance. Or if one is off to get food, we all hear about it—mostly from the babies still in the nest.

After a couple months of observation, I wanted to step up my interaction with the birds. Wondering if other people had become friends with their neighborhood Ravens, I googled “befriending Ravens.” It was a surprise to find the consensus was that doing so was a very bad idea. Upon further reading, it’s the use of food that people are opposed to. There was not even mention of another scenario for befriending a wild bird. Generally, giving food to wild animals is frowned upon because once they discover humans are the source of it, they have been known to terrorize other humans in hopes of receiving more food. This in turn, can result in death for the animal when the unsuspecting person believes they are being attacked.

I spend a lot of time with my dog, Z. More than a couple hours apart is uncommon and too long. I do leave her most days to be with my horse, Tom. Some days Z comes to the barn too. The three of us don’t have lengthy conversations, we don’t have like minds, we don’t even walk on the same number of legs or perceive the world in the same way. Yet, that we are absolute friends is indisputable. I share all of my food with Z and carry tasty horse nuggets for Tom. Yet, delusional or not, the treats do not feel like the basis of our friendship. If Z and I go to a friend’s house, she will climb up on the sofa to sit next to me, no questions asked. If I leave Tom alone, he will call and fuss until I return. Neither has anything to do with food. So, when I thought of and desired to befriend the Ravens, food never crossed my mind. First of all, I wouldn’t know how to associate myself with it and I don’t have any interest in figuring that out. What, then, was I imagining befriending the birds to be like? I wasn’t expecting the Ravens to come give me a hug or sit down for a cup of tea and a long talk. Rather, I was simply interested in being acknowledged by them and to allow our spirits to intermingle as Ted Andrews suggests Ravens are capable of. More than likely they already knew of my presence. Animals, especially wild ones, are superior to humans in that regard. They have to be, so they know where to find dinner and are aware of where danger is. I often take my computer to the porch and work outside. So, every time one of the birds flew overhead, I waved and said “Hi, Raven.” Or I’d state a saying I created “IAYEIW” which is an acronym for “I appreciate your existence in the world” and pronounced “I-You.” Most of the time, I saw some kind of flight change like a slight pull down of the wings, or an acrobatic shift. Rarely, but sometimes, there would be no ‘nod’ at all. I can’t tell the birds apart, so maybe one bird ‘waves’ and not the others. I don’t know and don’t really care. I’m just happy to see them and when it happens to feel seen in return.

For all our hubris, humans underestimate interspecies relationships. We seem to believe that the only reason a different species would befriend us is for what we provide them—food for instance. Sadly, that is sometimes the case amongst our own species as well. Is it possible to simply enjoy another’s company without asking anything of them? Wanting them to be something for us or behave in a certain way? I’d like to believe my relationship to my animal companions is like that. However, I also truly enjoy what they provide me, which is a sense of unconditional love, appreciation and acceptance—actually coming from the “love” hormone, oxytocin that releases every time we are together. Would I be able to continue with my adoration if it seemed they didn’t return my affections? I hope to never know from experience the answer to that.

It seems likely that interspecies relationships (which are not always friendships) are the first step towards recognizing and knowing deeply that all life is connected. Not for our similarities but because we are alive on this humble planet together breathing the same oxygen. Literally, just as I finished typing that sentence, a butterfly landed on my heart center. I sat still happily taking in her medicine. We shared something—exactly what I won’t diminish by labeling or guessing. I simply know I am better for that moment, hopefully the butterfly is too.

In love of animals, Katrina

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