When my cats want something from me, they ask. It might be for food, for water, for a cuddle, or to play. But they ask. Sometimes quietly, sometimes noisy and demanding. But they ask. When my horse wants my attention, she calls out to me. When she is hungry, she tells me. She asks me to satisfy her needs.
Now if I do not comply with these requests, do the animals treat me badly? No, they do not. Do they behave the next day any differently? No, they do not. They know what they want/need and that is that. They will ask, again and again.
Yet people, myself included, are more inclined to not ask for what we really need, if we have a history of disappointment. Sometimes that painful memory will stop us from stating our needs, just in case we get disappointed again. Not always is this a conscious thought. It may have become simply a normal way of behaving for us. A habit. A habit which can prevent us from knowing what is deep in our heart, that for which we long, but dare not ask. Fear. Fear of disappointment.
It stops us from asking.
Well, I am going to ask. I am asking myself, what is it I long for…….
Yesterday I went walking with my friend. She always shows me how to look at things from a different perspective. She sees the world differently and brings my notice to things I’d pass by without seeing. Sometimes she sees what I cannot, no matter how hard I try, and I have learnt to trust that she knows best. And it is fun, walking with another who is alert to it all, who doesn’t mind if I jump or skip or plod, depending on the time. She’ll adapt her pace to mine – well mostly….sometimes she’ll lag behind just so she can race up and past me with a triumph of delight. Or if I lag behind, she’ll stop and wait for me, patiently.
And yesterday was no exception. We had a great time. Good to break from our recent routine and just enjoy…..the simple pleasure of walking with a friend.
My friend, my horse.
In an attempt to create a cool outdoor place for summer, I have begun work on an area adjacent to the carport. My intention is for it to have cooling foliage for me to sit amongst. It faces east and has shade-cloth to protect the plants from the sun’s heat. As usual, I’m enriching the soil with horse and sheep manure, gradually, starting at one end and working my way along. Time had come for one section to be planted out. Lots of earthworms had come to enjoy the feast, and I was trying not to hurt them as I dug holes for the plants.
As I dug the hole for the final plant, a dark and squishy lump of something was unearthed. It was a frog. I had seen a frog in the area many weeks before, but had not sighted it since the onset of hot weather. Now I knew why – it had gone underground. Until I inadvertently disturbed it. Once I realized what this strange dark shape was, I apologized and very carefully reburied it, glad I had not injured it at all.
On those hot summer days and nights, there are times I wish I was that frog. Encased in a damp membrane, deep in the earth, cool. Retreating into a state of suspension, until the conditions are more conducive to life on the surface.
Today I received some excellent medicine. For the first time for too many days/weeks, I saddled up and went horse-riding again. Ahh, I could feel my spirits rise and my shoulders relax, as we swung into a trot. Lately I’ve had a focus elsewhere, and have spent less time with my friend, and we both seemed to feel the loss of that.
Sometimes I feel like a circus act. A juggler- how many balls can I manage this time…..some days I can manage more than other days. A clown on a unicycle. Or walking the high trapeze. Yet today I was reminded that maybe if I simply open my arms, and allow my heart to speak, I will find the balance I seek.
It can be too easy for me to get caught up in my head, and be thinking of what needs to be done, rather than be feeling what to do next. This stems from my old avoidance of feeling, but now I’d rather risk the highs and lows of feeling than to return to the state of numbness.
So once again, the animals around me bring me back to my senses. To them I have enormous gratitude.
Today a grasshopper gave me a beautiful gift. It taught me about conditioning. About how conditioned I had been into good/bad, right/wrong thinking, judging everything according to how it fitted into my world. What it could do for me. Or not, as the case may be. I had been conditioned into thinking that grasshoppers were bad. Dragonflies are good, praying mantis are good. Yet, as I saw today when I invited a grasshopper to sit on my finger so that I could examine it closely, there is so little difference between those three. I could add a caterpillar to the list, as the body of the grasshopper reminded me of one, and butterflies are thought of as good. Yet caterpillars are thought of as bad…..
This grasshopper returned my gaze, repositioning itself to look at me if I moved my finger away. And then it slowly rotated itself while I gazed, amazed. As much as to say, all you have to do is ask, and I will do it. This tiny creature of God, was much more tuned into me than I was it, and yet, I could feel welling up in me, the memory of a time when we all were of the same Mind.
Ants have captured my attention recently. With them biting and hanging onto my bare toes, it’s a bit difficult to ignore! Usually these bull ants near home are fairly peaceful, providing I don’t disturb them, they leave me alone. But their behaviour has changed in the past few days, and they have become almost frantic in their endeavours to gather food. The only time during the day that they are quiet is in the midday heat, when they have retreated underground. Now I know lots of stories about ants, such as when they are busy there is rain on the way. Well, ants are busy creatures. So that story isn’t quite on the money for me. What I look for is a change to their habits. And yes, observing these ants over the past few months, I’ve noticed changes that have been spot on with heavy downpours. In fact, they have been more accurate than the Met.! But this current frenzy is different again. Another person in this region has noticed a similar change – she has many many more than in other years, all extremely busy.
Is it time to build an Ark? Only time will tell. I am glad the house is on high ground though….
Lately, it has been hot. Very hot. Daytime temperatures of 40C in the shade. Real scorchers. The sparrows and willy-wag-tails have sought relief on my front verandah. I’m kept busy refilling water bowls of different sizes for the various animals and insects that live about here. Early mornings and late evenings are the only times when there is much activity. Even the galahs take refuge in the trees during the heat of the day.
The river flow is much reduced. As has been my own flow of words. I feel I’m drying up. It won’t last forever. It is just the season. One day there will be a flood again. Or at least more than a trickle. This is just the normal ebb and flow of life.