Friday, July 30, 2010

Scarabs and Second Chances

This evening the beach was cool and overcast; just the way I love it the most. While walking in the surf I spied a scarab beetle on his back, in the wet sand, about to get overwhelmed with an incoming wave. I plucked him up and he grabbed on to me for dear life. His six tiny feet clutched me with gentle desperation, and I wondered what he thought of this giant looming over him, delivering him from certain death. It’s not often you get to play deus ex machina to another being.

He was so beautiful; an iridescent soft green covered with sand. I took him away from the roar and breeze of the surf to the soft sand near the base of the cliff. We had a visit while I brushed the wet sand off him and he started to revive. He began by waving his right front leg about and slowly began to groom the sand from his face.

He continued to cling strenuously to my hand and slowly became more animated. I think the warmth from my skin helped him recover from his ordeal. I sat down in the sand and talked with him a bit. He would stop his grooming and look at me, and for a brief moment I fancied we understood each other and the moment we shared. Endoskeleton and Exoskeleton. How often do we commune? Not so much I’m thinking. (but see another scarab entry August 29, 2009).

Once I was certain he was all right again I put him on a bamboo leaf, out of the wind and away from predators. Perhaps he is spending the night there. Good camouflage; fine shelter.

Many traditions hold that scarab beetles are symbols of rebirth and regeneration. Timely, my wee, emerald portend. Earlier this week the mother of a dear friend passed this Earth plane. I was honored to have been there for her passing and see her into the Light.

This little beetle reminds me that, no matter what our circumstance, we should never give up and never assume an outcome. We might be toes up wriggling in the wet quicksand with an advancing wave mere inches away, and something that wasn’t there thirty seconds before can pick us up, dust us off, and put us on a nice soft tree.

I had gone to the beach searching rocks and crystals. Turns out it was an evening for jewels; a beautiful jeweled insect who had a lot to show me about life and fate and making a difference.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Two Crows

The animal world is amazing. They share our planet with us, and are ever our teachers if we open to their lessons. Last week I received a good lesson from the crows who live by me.

I love crows. And they seem to love me, too, as they have always allowed me to get close to them. On a misty morning I left early for work and encountered one of my regulars out scavenging for breakfast. She was striding through the dewy grass searching out worms and grubs and insects, and doing a fair job of finding them. We regarded each other as we do. She gave a low crawk of greeting and cocked her head to look at me closely. I told her, in low tones, how beautiful she was. She crawked more words to me. I watched her as she resumed her rustling for food, and then I turned to continue to my car.

After buckling in I stopped to marvel at how beautiful life is and how privileged I am to relate to these crows. I put the car in gear and headed out of my little housing development to the main street.

Just at the corner to the bustling main street I saw a fledgling crow smashed in the gutter, apparently hit by a car in the late evening or the early dawn. Clearly dead. And I could tell he was a fledgling by the color of his beak, still so bright to make it easier for parents to find to place food in. This young one had not judged traffic accurately, and thereby paid the price. It is a too frequent occurrence of late and always puts a lump in my throat. A few weeks ago I witnessed a crow being run over by an SUV that never stopped and it affected me deeply. How can people be so clueless and callous?

After my instant of adrenalin and horror passed I did what I do for animals who are killed by cars, and continued on the way to work, but remained shaken. As I was accelerating on the freeway ramp a gentle voice asked me: Which crow are you going to focus on now?

I thought about it. I had done what I could for the dead one. The live one was still there grubbing out her meal. Which crow would haunt me for the morning? It was then I realized I had a choice.

I could continue to feel shock and pain about the dead crow, taken too early, and too violently. I could continue to mentally image his poor broken wing at its dreadful angle from the road, feathers rustling in the morning air. I could continue to feel that pain all morning and stay in that vibration. And believe me it was tempting to stay there. I was still shaking with the emotion of the encounter.

Or I could remember the incredible honor and communication with the live crow, her words of greeting, her focus on her meal, and how that encounter raised my vibration to soaring heights.

The two encounters happened within ten minutes of each other. And each so different, and so polar opposite, vibrationally. I had to smile. Because of course I chose to stay vibrationally with the live crow.

In life we must make a conscious choice to keep our eye on the prize and our mind and body in alignment with positive vibrations. Of course sadness and low vibration events will come and we must attend to these situations. We must do what we must do. But then we need to wrap it up, conclude it, and…here’s the trick… Let. It. Go.

How often do we stay with the dead crow? How often do we hang on to something that is painful, and ignore or minimize the positive things coming in to our lives? I am not suggesting we abandon these painful situations, or ignore them, but we must keep our emphasis and our focus on the positive. The positive must be our default vibration. It is the only way we can continue to progess in our lives. By staying in the positive we can better do what we came here to do.

And so every time that morning, when the image of that sad, broken wing came into my head, I sent that crow a blessing and shifted to the image of the breakfast seeker and her low crawking greeting to me. And I marveled at the entire sequence.

My work day was very busy and full of a lot of negative and some positive and ended with my long drive home. I finally got in just before dusk, pulling up the drive quite tired and cringing at seeing some feathers still in the road as I approached. I turned off the ignition and sighed with letting the day go. I thought of the dead crow, blessed it, and refocused. I gathered my purse and tote and stepped out. And looked up. There, greeting me, were two live crows walking in the grass looking for dinner.

Two crows. One, my morning companion, looked up and crawed at me and resumed beaking about the blades of grass. The other merely regarded me mutely and picked up a beetle. Tears stung my eyes at the beauty.

Mitaku Oyasin is Lakota for ‘all my relations’ but it means so much more than just those words. It has no complete translation, but encompasses everything as one family and as one learning spirit. We have so much to learn, and the world has so much it can teach us. Watch for the crows in your life. Take the lessons they offer.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Carefree Summer Days

A Summer Weekend looms – a long holiday one here in the States as we celebrate July 4. Puts me in mind of a particular childhood summer in Pennsylvania. That was the summer I essentially lived with a British family and it was the start of my funny way of slipping into an accent that defies localization. My Brit friends know well that I get “a case of the Madonnas” when I’m around them; the timbre of my voice changes and I start saying GARE-age instead of gar-AHJuh. I go on holiday, not vacation, and everything comes out of my mouth a wee bit more English sounding.

That magical summer during my youth was one of great creativity. Kids were given free rein to create. There was a mad cacophony of projects: a toothpick Eiffel Tower in one corner; painting canvases in another; and game boards for never ending Monopoly games, some kind of farm game, and Battleship were always set up in the caravan /travel trailer. In the back room we spent hours assembling bones from animal skeletons we found in the woods and we played museum keepers trying to put them together. It looked like some grisly experiment of cat, gopher, and rat bones. The great Golden Labrador named Costas spent his days flaked out on a frayed Persian rug, smiling, and thumping his tail whenever we walked by, no doubt because we dropped bits of food everywhere. There was endless food in the kitchen. It was HEAVEN!

I staged plays and radio shows. My Grandfather had given me a reel-to-reel tape recorder and I would interview anyone and everyone, and then would edit and present it ‘radio style’ from a booth I rigged in the GARE-age. We hung sheets and staged plays of our own imagination. We were kings and queens and ace fighter pilots and intrepid explorers. We wrote plots of murder, betrayal, and revenge and – since it was the cold war in those days – intrigue involving Russian spies.

Sean Connery was James Bond then and the local bakery, Bond Bread, took advantage of the coincidence of name and sold loaves with end wrappers featuring photos from the movies. We collected them all into a mad collage of black and white stills from spy films and put them up on our theatre walls. We bragged about how when we each grew up we would have Aston Martins and speed around the countryside saving the free world.

We trooped down to the creek with Costas in the evening and sailed boats made of plywood with ripped sheet sails. We built dams and temporarily incarcerated frogs and toads, always freeing them at night to return to their lives on the banks of the stream. At night we lay on the grass, got devoured by mosquitoes, and stared up at the constellations, making charts of the stars and sneaking them to bed with us so we could sit under blankets with our flashlights and compare them to the star charts in our books. We captured fireflies and put them in bottles and watched the fluorescence. We let them go after a few hours. Unless we forgot. And if we did and they died we buried them with honors worthy of Egyptian pharaohs in the morning.

Crystals were everywhere, or so it seemed to me. I collected them all summer and put them in boxes by category and pulled them out late at night in bed and held them, felt their power and compared how different ones buzzed in different ways. We passed them around and felt their energy.

All summer long we created and laughed and learned about life and the environment.

And yet we attended no summer camps, participated in no programs or classes, and had no formal structure to our days. We had neither teachers nor seminars, and days would go by without us ever getting in a car or going anywhere other than where we went on foot. The only television I recall us watching was Gilligan’s Island, which we would sit and sing to and mock endlessly with our own lyrics.

Yet somehow this summer of our imaginations was one of the best of my life. It was a magical time of friendships, of exploration, and of self-realization. Adults served merely to provide us with food and - as I look back on it – overall protection from the elements. The odd scraped knee was bandaged and kissed. Bad language was sharply reprimanded. Laundry was ordered picked up. Other than that, it was Lord of the Flies without the bad bits and with gentle structure. We were kings and queens and we found our very essence that year.

It was not all jolly for me that summer. There was some ugliness on another front. But while I was in this household I learned what it was to be myself, and unleash the creative person unafraid. And I knew what it was to be free and to be loved and to be embraced for who I was.

What a blessing. I wish all children such summers. I wish it for all adults, too.