Nature always is speaking to each of us, but sometimes we are too busy to notice. When we are quiet and the influences of the 3D world are absent, we find we are in greater harmony with the natural world. We forget about the past and future and are in the present. We can be part of the rhythms of nature and of the universe. This is when we see and hear the quiet messengers around us.
Looking at the early cave art, we can see that our ancestors understood the world around them. Their lives depended on knowing their environment, so they paid attention. As we’ve become more separated from nature, our livelihoods now depend on cars, computers, and cell phones. Most of us live in urban environments, which are designed by and for business. If you’ve ever seen a new project being developed, often the first step is to bulldoze everything so it will be easier and more profitable to put in utilities, streets, and homes. It is painful to see.
We’ve been moving as a group to a society that promotes separation from the outside world, and we lost the ability to communicate with an important and prolific source of information. So, how do we regain this connection? The first step is easy. Go outside, sit down, and be quiet. Or, as we learned in kindergarten – stop, look, and listen. Notice who is in your yard or the park. As this becomes a habit, you will see and hear more around you, and you might even share your insights and ignite a spark in others.
When I notice a visitor, I first consider the traits of the animal, bird, insect, or plant. (Living inland, I don’t encounter sea life.) If I still have questions, I consult the lore from American Indians. With my heritage and experiences in other lives, I value it greatly because they were masters at observation and interpretation.
Let’s look at that picture at the top. It was taken by a friend who does not pay much attention to these things, but he definitely noticed a vulture family sitting in front of him. He sent me the picture and asked what I thought because he knows I respect these birds. Vultures once were considered sacred birds, and it is only in recent times that they became vilified. These birds roost together as an extended family, occupying the same place for generations. They eat rotting flesh and transmute the bacteria as it goes through their digestive tract. (The Latin name for Turkey Vulture means golden purifier.) They have sharp eyesight, a keen since of smell, and are able to detect a meal from a great distance. They are masterful flyers, able to soar effortlessly on thermals.
What were my conclusions? Vultures represent strong family and community ties, strength, and the ability to transmute undesirable elements. They are the “behind the scenes” caretakers of our environment. This person was being reminded that he was part of a larger family with great abilities to take in what is around him and help out in unseen ways.
About a week later, this person saw a roadrunner in the same place, which is highly unusual, as they are desert birds. What do we know about them (besides from cartoons)? They are very agile, able to change direction on a dime, as well as quite fast (clocked at 15 miles per hour). They are one of the few birds that can kill a rattlesnake. This sighting seems to say be alert, change direction if needed, and remove danger. I thought it was interesting that he got these two messages together.
We had a big skunk hanging around our end of the street, so I sent an email to the neighbors, alerting them to its presence and shared a sure fire remedy in case one of their dogs was sprayed. I ended the email with a note about what seeing a skunk can mean. Skunks have a reputation, and people and animals respect them, giving them a wide berth. Anyone who has been around when one got irritated, knows the potent smell well. I told my neighbors that they may have an opportunity to speak up about something from a position of respect, or they may have an opportunity to raise a big stink about a situation. Quite a few wrote back saying they appreciated the words of wisdom, so I think I hit home with that one.
Birds may carry a specific meaning based on their type, or they may carry a more general message. We have wrens around our home, and they often come near. When I’m working in the garage, they come just inside the door. One time I was “chewing” on some negative ideas about a situation, when I finally looked up and noticed their singing was getting louder and more persistent. By taking the time to notice them, I noticed what I was doing and made the appropriate correction.
A recent wren lesson was about not resisting a situation. This spring, a couple decided to build a nest in a trash basket under the covered part of the deck. I thought I was discouraging them by putting things across the basket, but I realized that I had been unsuccessful and the nest was almost complete. I did not have the heart to make them start from scratch somewhere else because I figured the babies were on the way. So, I moved my rocking chair and modified my behavior to give them room. When the chicks got out of the nest and began hopping and beating their wings, I watched from inside, feeling like a proud Mom. The next day, I was missing them and wondering how the babies were doing, when I heard the wren song in a baby voice behind me. So, I learned not to resist based on what I thought was best, and let the events unfold. I was rewarded many times over.
I’ve shared a few examples of how nature has spoken to me and how I’ve interpreted the messages. Who has visited you, and what were your observations? Have you received messages?
In Part Two, I’ll talk about wasps, more birds, and flowers.