The sun is peeking from between clouds as I sit looking out at trees and a veil of kudzu. A line of wind chimes tinkle in a light breeze, almost but not quite, distracting me from someone’s car idling next door. Haze covers the distant mountains and a crow caws as the car drives away, leaving silence behind. Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal dart to the bird feeder and I look away, hoping they’ll stay longer if they think they’ve got privacy. All this beauty surrounds me, and I almost missed the experience.
Not long before I was inside, catching up on e-mails and planning a work-filled day. Then a squirrel came to my closed patio door. The rodent put its little paws on the doorframe and cocked its head, looking right at me in what I took as an invitation. I didn’t accept the summons immediately. Almost thirty minutes elapsed before l took the call of the wild.
Listening to animals is a skill I’m still honing. One of the tools I use to help me develop this talent is a book by Ted Andrews titled “Animal Speak.” He wrote two companion books, but the first remains my favorite. Mr. Andrews states that when we learn to observe and respect nature, nature becomes our teacher, friend and companion rather than an entity to conquer. Our environment, in all its forms, is our partner in growth.
For example, perhaps you’re driving and pondering making a change in your life. A robin dive bombs your windshield, pulling up and over your car just as you were afraid you’d have a mess that couldn’t be cleared with a quick flick of the windshield washer. Robin was delivering a message. In this case, the point could be to sing your own song and find growth.
Today, Squirrel came to tell me I needed some balance. Activity and preparation are the keynote words describing squirrels. More important though, when a squirrel shows up, it’s time to look at actions to determine if you are doing enough or too much. Squirrel reminds people that work and play are complementary. I decided I was working too hard and needed a break. I took one - thanks, Ms. Squirrel!
The idea of listening to animals, to Mother Earth, is one way of reviving your dreams, imagination and belief in possibilities. Birds, animals and insects all have the ability to help us navigate life if we listen. Pay attention to your thoughts and nature’s messengers. Then take a break if squirrel comes along while you’re knee-deep in laundry and dirty dishes – interruptions are good! Now I’m hoping squirrel will take this message to the neighbor wielding his weed wacker. . .