Thank you much for all the responses you've sent me both privately and in comments. I thought I would just throw out "feel good" animal stories but no, y'all are a deep crowd and you want more about that deep place animals and people go. Well good, I say.
I told Mr. Kola that taking care of him was getting in the way of me writing about animals. He thought it was funny, too.
I have another tale from Earthfire.
So our teacher Polly, besides providing amazing Animal Reiki and Cranio-Sacral work, is also an Animal Communicator. I never believed in it much until it had great effect on both my dog and cat, but that's another story. One of her dreams for our retreat was for us all to ask the animals what they needed. So I took a class. And felt silly. I never got very far and I couldn't really sense if what I was "getting" from animals was "true."
Hence my trepidation as I waited with the others for Pimpernel the coyote. It should be noted here that we waited in a large Wildlife Garden while Susan and Jean brought the animals in to roam around us. Yes.
We sat quietly while Pimpernel trotted around us, head way down, eyes angled up. So coyote. After a few minutes I got the distinct impression that she was wondering why we were being so quiet (later we all traded impressions and almost all of us got that same feeling). I decided I had better try talking or at least listening. I cleared my mind, regulated my breathing, settled into--
I AM SO BIG!!
came a loud voice/message/sensation, immediately, followed by a picture of Pimpernel moving around the entire garden, into the house, the office, the yurt, the walkways, herding all the animals, tending to the borders, busy busy busy. You could not miss the message: She kept everything going around there.
Later, shyly, from my awkward new Animal Communicator place, I told this to Susan and Jean and they both cracked up. "Oh my god that's so her!" Susan laughed. (More on Pimpernel here.)
But this is not what I would have thought upon first meeting. I've seen coyotes quite a bit, both in the city and in the wild, and Pimpernel is on the small side (I find myself furtively checking to make sure she didn't read that).
I mistook her for a small presence. (I can hear a thousand small creatures snorting.)
As she passed by I reached a hand out to her and was struck, as I had been with the wolves, with the rough quality of her coat. It looked smooth and silky like a dog's but was instead very coarse and textured, sticking out in places. The word "unkempt" sprang to mind, and I realized that I was used to seeing domestic animals in a groomed state. Then I realized that I had almost written "perfection" as if "neatly groomed" were synonymous.
While I knew it in my head I had not grasped with my fingers that our airbrushed, pixelated, teeth-whitened culture has extended to animals, where we brush and clip and comb them until they are... what? less wild? More like us? Good god, why aren't we going the other way? Especially when one of the chief things we love about "our" animals is that we can be completely ourselves with them?
I drew my hand to my nose, letting the deeply wild, raw, fresh scent hit me. Musky and way down in the bass notes, simple, thorough. I remembered the smell of the wolves only a few hours before. Completely different. Completely raw and wild, too. Somewhere in there we had petted Bluebell, marveling at her equally wild-smelling hair. A different wild, also.
What effect on the nervous system would it be to smell wolf, then coyote, then fox, then bison, all in the same day? And then the next day? Sometimes I think that's why so many of us Retreat-ers had a rough re-entry when we came back home. We had been plunged into the very mud of life itself, every sense awakened and enlightened. And then yanked back out.
Where do we belong?