When a wild animal makes an unusual appearance in my life, I believe it is a message from beyond. I believe that animals are messengers from the spirit world, sent to us to wake us up to something we are not conscious of, something we need to hear, some wisdom or reinforcement. I believe they have a direct connection to the Great Spirit or God and live an unmucked-up life devoid of ego, unlike man. I have a book and set of cards entitled, Animal Medicine Cards. In it are 44 different animals giving a positive and a negative message. You can lay out the cards and ask questions or guidance or wait until the animal actually appears in your life and then look up its message. Cards that are upside down are negative, animals that are dead or die, I take as a negative message.
When Sierra was moving to Nepal for a semester study abroad in college, we went for a last walk to Hawk Mountain’s North Lookout, to say good-bye to her power spot. In the middle of a Sunday afternoon, in late August, with the woods full of people, a large black bear made an appearance to us , only a few yards from the trail. In all the years I have been visiting the sanctuary, I never saw a bear that close on a busy weekend day. You better believe we returned home and immediately consulted the Medicine Card book to see what bear’s message was- one of strength and knowing, about alternative pathways that lead to our goals. I felt more confident sending her off to Nepal after bear’s appearance in our lives.
Today, I was walking down our driveway today en-route for the mail when I saw a squirrel on a tree, scurrying about with a full mouth. Whatever it clenched in its teeth looked unusually large, too large for its mouth, like a round walnut encased in its shell, so I teased it out loud and she got nervous and dropped it. When I peered over at the object in the snow, I saw it was pink and curled up into a ball. It began moving about and squealing tiny cries. It’s a baby squirrel! A pinky with still-shut eyes and not a hair of fur. I looked up and the squirrel had vanished. I saw a round hole not far up the tree and knocked on the side to see if I could disturb more babies and hear if any were in there. Nothing. I stood looking at it for a few seconds, trying to decide what was best. I left it there in the snow, reluctantly, and went down to get the mail, walking very, very fast, hoping the mama would fetch the poor baby while I was gone. I felt badly leaving it in the cold snow but I thought it best for me to get out of there.
When I returned, the baby was lifeless and very cold. I flashbacked to my little Sierra, when she was quite young, a similar incident occurred and I thought to myself, “What would Sierra do?” in this case?
Years ago, Todd was cutting down a tree on our property and as it fell to the ground, baby squirrels came running out of a hole. One or two behaved shell-shocked, as though they had a concussion. He secretly alerted me to the dilemma without the kids hearing and said he could just chain saw them and put them out of their misery and Sierra and Bryce would never know. I was horrified. No such thing. I alerted the kids, who immediately got cardboard boxes, towels and gloves to handle the babies. We looked up a local wild animal rehab place and drove them the 20 minutes. Todd said, “they probably won’t make it,” and I said, “What do you think we are teaching them if we don’t try?”
So today, I picked up the baby squirrel and put it into my wool hat and blew hot breathes on it all the way back to our home. I took it over to Todd who was chainsaw carving and showed him what was in my hat. “What are you going to do with that?” he asked. “It’s going to die.” (Here we go again.)
“Get him warm.”
“How are you going to feed him?” I didn’t answer.
I got an onion soup crock and a scrap of an old flannel sheet and made a cushy bed for him. I placed the crock by the woodstove and in no time at all, he was moving about nicely and his little heart was clearly beating through his pink skin. I inserted my index finger into the crock and pressed it against his body and saw that he had warmed up. I made a call to the same wildlife re-habber that we took the baby squirrels to over twenty years ago, Red Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation, and they advised me to bring the baby in.
The crock held the heat nicely and the heat was cranked up in the car way hotter that I would normally comfortably keep it. I felt happy driving the baby squirrel to the re-habber. I thought of my little daughter. You gotta try to save a life. That’s what we taught them and I was going to do the same. What kind of a mother or a person would I had been to just leave the naked pink baby die a slow death in the snow of hypothermia?
Besides, like I said, I believe that animals who make unusual appearances in our lives are sent from beyond to give us a message. Leaving it to die seems like I am tossing his sacrifice right back at him and saying, “thanks, but no thanks.”
Squirrel’s message was pretty spot on for my life right now. I best listen.
Squirrel says to “plan ahead, to gather and store my energy for the future, for times of need. Be prepared. His message is to be prepared and not go nutz with it. Honor your future by readying yourself for change. The other message has to do with the safe place that is an untroubled heart and mind, and that which is gathered in its place is wisdom and caring. The energies gathered will set your mind free so that you will know that all will be taken care of in its own time. Apply this to your fears of the future and they will vanish.”
How does that relate to my present life? Every morning, I climb the stairs to my office and page through the stacks of contacts and ideas for promoting my new book, The World is Our Classroom- How One Family Used Nature and Travel to Shape an Extraordinary Education. I know and was even told by my publisher, that I would pretty much be in charge of promoting my book on my own. Most publishing house do very little, and the publicist that is assigned to me, will also be assigned to dozens more authors at the same time. I want to embrace this responsibility and be pro-active.
But I have been frustrated and over-whelmed as of late. Do I try to approach magazines and inquire about getting my book reviewed? Do I approach outlets for speaking? (hiking clubs, cycling org., parenting groups, environmental education centers, universities with a strong outdoor education dept., libraries, outdoor shops, retirement communities, women’s groups, the list is endless.
I did go to a psychic a few years back and he told me to lay low during this period, to gather my energy- paint pictures, meditate, gear up for what lay ahead because my new book will explode. I have taken his advice and am using these months to network, stay home, exercise, for once late April is here, I will not stop until Christmas. But I have been feeling overwhelmed with the lists and the contacts and what I could do, which never seems enough. The psychic also said to get out of my own way and it will happen. As a person who firmly believes in creating the life that you want, it is hard to sit back and let something big and important up to chance. But maybe I should take more breaks and lay out the paints on my palette, wait for the calls to come in as I have reached out to hundreds of speaking outlets. Trust.
I am supposed to call the re-hab center tomorrow to see how my little baby squirrel is doing. He might make it or he might not but I still feel like the creature’s message is a positive one, not a negative one. He is helping me to live better already and his sacrificed life was already worth it to me and I thank him. I best listen to squirrel.
Posted in: Life's Moments and Lessons