When I see people out walking with dogs I often see these wonderful beings looking up at them. Many of the people are looking down…..at their phones. It may be easy to slip into an “agenda” for your walk together of “multitasking or “getting it done.” What if you made the decision to bring your phone for an emergency only? What if you went for a walk and did just that? Often I sense a dog trying to convey a message like this in their own way. “Let’s walk…explore…I can show you another world.”
Sophie the Dog knew the owl was there of course. She had led me there on her leash and I hadn’t thought there was anything unusual because that cul de sac was part of our everyday walk together. I looked down and she was there in all of her exquisite beauty; this magnificent barred owl on her back in the stillness after her transition into spirit. Her body was pristine. It looked like her death had happened very recently while at the same time it seemed we were in a realm beyond time…..her intricate and delicately painted feathers…the brilliant bright yellow of her beak and feet…her elegant face…the soulful eyes gazing at me and on into the Infinite. She was radiant in form and spirit: in life and death. Her majestic presence pierced my heart and took my breath away. I thanked Sophie, we went home and I knew what I would do to celebrate the Owl’s life. I went back with a shovel to bury the beautiful body of this glorious spirit where she had dropped. As I quieted my mind I realized she was guiding me to choose a spot in the wooded area next to our house. I placed her gently in the hole and laid evergreen boughs over the spot. I thanked her for the gift of being able to care for and honor her body. I thanked her for gracing the planet and blessing us with her wisdom and beauty. That night I heard the single call of an owl and I knew it was her mate. My heart was broken open in grief, joy and love. I grieved with her mate for the loss of her beauty and companionship in physical form .I sensed her mate was also thanking me. I treasure these connections with animals to their collective symbolism as a species. Owl: Able to view many perspectives ( their heads have an almost 360 degree mobility) both physically and spiritually even while focused within. They can be a wakeup call to open our eyes and look within and without. I also treasure the individual connections I’ve experienced. The magnificent owl allowed me to have a deeper understanding that I can have reverence for the body in life and death while knowing it is a part of a much bigger picture.
When I was a teenager I was running through a yard and stepped full weight on a frog. It crushed him and I was heartbroken. I never forgot it; I tried to tuck it away somewhere to avoid the grief. Although I knew I hadn’t intentionally killed him the door was closing to a part of my spirit that had been shutting down. I would ignore the inherent gift of spiritual connection through animals and walk a path of numbing out and turning away for the next 18 years. In 1985 I experienced a spiritual wakeup call and in 1989 a force of nature named Mr. Kitty renewed and completely transformed my connection to animals. I’d loved being near ponds with lily pads and creek beds with shallow water because frogs and toads might be there. When we moved to the mountains in 1992 I was thrilled to hear the Frog Symphony that first spring and summer and looked forward to it every year. It was a harmonic celebration of creation. Tiny frogs would visit our cabin. They could fit easily under the kitchen door. They would often rest on the rim of Mr. Kitty’s water bowl. We were all fascinated by them including Mr. Kitty. I put a bowl of water out on the railing for them with a rock in it for resting and meditating. I loved to spend time with them on warm nights. They allowed me to come very close and sit with them. After a time the allowing changed to inviting me to be with them. Sometimes one would hop into my hand and we would be still together. Mr. Kitty held conferences with them where information and secrets of the earth and water were shared. They honored each others’ existence.In 2004, not long after Mr. Kitty had left his cat body, Tom and I were sitting in the living room with grief and gratitude filling our hearts. We both saw the frog at the same time. A full sized frog with iridescent jewels overlaying his body; shimmering and gloriously luminous…..we both experienced this special visit as a vivid message that Mr. Kitty was reveling in spirit and was joining his frog friends. Today I keep the clay Toad House out in the backyard with a bowl of water inside to offer them shade, moisture and a little spot to just be. Frogs and toads collectively symbolize adaptability, transformation and ease of transitions as well as harbingers of the health of the planet. I’ve personally also experienced them as powerful healers, divine messengers and a joyful chorus. I’m deeply grateful to the Frogs!