On the afternoon of June 11, 2012, exhaustion suddenly overcame me. I have learned to listen when this occurs for I’m often given a message.
As soon as I closed my eyes, I saw an eye, an eye that I know is feminine because of its long lashes. She had not appeared to me for some time. This time though the eye was closed. Within seconds it vanished then returned and was open. This eye which I consider the feminine aspect of the Divine was quickly followed by a raccoon’s masked face. A second soon joined it. The faces of two young raccoons remained in my field of vision then vanished. They were replaced by a golden hand its palm facing upward extending from me as if I were offering my hand to someone or something.
I had seen raccoon eyes and the eye before but never a golden hand. I noted this series of images and then returned to work.Just over two weeks later as I concluded my morning walk, I heard Judy my neighbor calling my name. She stood in her yard diagonally across the street animatedly shouting that she had an emergency.
Inside I smiled as I heard the phrase, “two baby raccoons.” This was related to the vision. Curled in a plastic crate by another neighbor’s house were two young raccoons fast asleep.
Three of us stood over these sleeping youngsters and agreed it was wisest to leave them in hopes their mother returned. I was relieved yet curious and torn because of the vision. Why had I seen the golden hand? Was I to lend a hand? This was the time of day usually reserved for my writing, yet it was all I could do to stay focused and not intervene. Yet not intervening felt right.
The next morning we discovered the raccoons were gone. Judy and I stood in the street and cheered. Then I went about my day wondering how this was connected to what I had been shown.
That afternoon Judy called again. The prior day’s events were a prelude to an unfolding story. The young raccoons had been found in the yard of our newest neighbor who had swiftly hired an animal trapping service. A trapper had already arrived and for several hundred dollars caught one of the babies and left baited traps for the remaining one which had climbed a tree. A third neighbor had asked the trapper what would be done with the baby. The business owner said he would abide by federal guidelines. When asked if this meant he would kill the raccoon, the trapper reiterated he would “follow guidelines.” This neighbor quickly searched for the guidelines and couldn’t clearly discern what the man really meant. I then learned another local business used trapped raccoons for training hunting dogs. This made me sick.
Heartbroken I weighed whether I was to intervene and call my neighbor. What if he was upset and told me this was none of my business? I did not want to create hard feelings yet I had hard feelings related to what had already occurred. Judy persisted and contacted with someone in the neighborhood who traps feral cats for neutering and spaying. I was in my raised beds trying to dig my sorrow for the raccoons away when Judy and Cici arrived with a trap. I feared it was too small but agreed to set it overnight in my yard in hopes of beating the business man to the remaining young raccoon.
The next morning, my trap was empty and I felt panic. To ignore calling my new neighbor felt like I was ignoring the vision and the raccoon. I had to reach out, extend a hand.
I suspect some people in small towns, like the one in which I grew up, think urban folk don’t know their neighbors. This may be true for some neighborhoods but not Westwood. Seven homes in my little ‘neck of the world,’ a dead end street in Nashville’s busy West End/Vanderbilt area, have been occupied by the same residents for going on twenty years. We have an unofficial neighborhood watch when it comes to one another. Our watch includes animals.
In talking with our newest neighbor, I explained that we’re accustomed to raccoons and opossums navigating our yards at night. The new neighbors weren’t. They were frightened; concerned the raccoons would try to nest under their house.
I offered to reimburse my neighbor half of the fee he had already paid the trapping company if he would give me the young raccoon. He confirmed it was in the cage and the business had been alerted. Yet upon hearing of “Walden’s Puddle” he quickly agreed, not to taking my monetary offer, but to giving me the young raccoon if I could get it in time.
Imagine my joy when I found these dear eyes looking at me.
I called a fourth neighbor who helped me get the raccoon into small carrier she offered to the endeavor.
With the raccoon in the front seat, I made the thirty minute drive to “Walden’s Puddle” singing most of the way. I sang and this dear, dear animal in return made a chirping, purring sound like my cat when she’s extremely content. The raccoon, it seemed, sang back to me the entire way.
I had heard of “Walden’s Puddle” for years but had never taken an animal there. As I handed over the young raccoon, a woman walked in with a fawn in her arms. A Walden staff member checked its skin and confirmed her suspicion – dehydration. The summer’s drought was impacting animals significantly. The lack of water meant mothers couldn’t easily produce milk for their young. The fawn had been in the middle of the road. It did not move even when the woman parked and walked up to it. It allowed her to take it into her arms and place it into her car. A technician immediately took the fawn and I walked to my car realizing I was in heaven on Earth.
I’m one of those persons that knows a line to a song but never the entire song. I drove back to Nashville with a line “We’ve got to get back to the garden” singing through my mind knowing Walden’s Puddle is a special part of Earth’s garden.
As I neared home, I called the neighborhood network to share our success and thank them for their help. Unfortunately I learned the trapper was now trying to catch the mother raccoon. Our neighbor had signed a 7 day contract and for whatever reason couldn’t or wouldn’t tell the man to not return even though the man had received payment in advance.
Our endeavor was not complete. I stopped at the neighborhood hardware store to look into the cost of a large humane trap. I learned the men at Hillsboro Hardware are part of my tribe as they shared of rescuing bunnies in their yards so their dogs couldn’t kill them.
As I paid for a trap, I heard playing on the store radio, “We’ve got to get back to the garden.” The Universal ipod confirmed my journey. Before leaving the store parking lot, I found the lyrics on-line. I sat in my car smiling outside and inside as I came upon the line that reads: We are golden. And I thought of the golden hand in my vision.
My neighbors and those involved with Walden’s Puddle are golden. My new neighbor is as well. I called him again. He agreed that if I used the new trap, I could render his traps harmless each night in hopes of my catching the mother.
Three mornings later I awoke to find her peering from the covered trap.
Unlike her baby, her initial response was upset. She growled fiercely as I consoled her. I squatted by the cage and said: “I know it’s scary. Life on Earth can be hard. When humans don’t understand the heart, it gets hard. Life gets hard and the heart gets hard.”
I made the chirping sound the way its baby had talked to me hoping she would understand and said, “That’s the language your baby made. It’s your first language. I love you and am so sorry for what people have done because we have forgotten our first language.”
At first as I spoke, the raccoon’s ears trembled. Then I realized I had my journal in front of me, like a shield over my heart. I lay my journal aside and something shifted. You may think I was imagining things but I saw the shift in the raccoon’s eyes.
I drove again from Nashville this time with a raccoon in a large trap in my back seat. Although she never chirped to me, she never growled after that first time.
What I ‘got’ or learned during that drive is something I am repeatedly taught by the animals I encounter. I was so happy loving this animal yet there was a deeper love than mine in the car. This animal loved me more than I could fathom more than I loved her. We shared a bond that went beyond the moment. I knew she appreciated my caring for her but most of all for caring about her children.
She seemed to say, “Thank you for extending the golden hand of your heart to my children and me.”
The animals come here because they love us so. They continue coming to Earth because they have a hope in us that many of us don’t even have in ourselves. They are here partnering with us in this time of great unfolding Mystery as the feminine, feeling aspect of the Divine awakens. They offer themselves to us in hopes that we might fully realize who we are.
Who are we? We are golden. We carry a golden heart from which we can at any moment extend a golden hand. This is our first language when young, yet often like the mother raccoon, we learn to exhibit hostility and defensiveness rather than trust and love. We learn to mask vulnerability like her initial grown hid her trembling ears.
What I know about myself, which may or may not be true for you, is when I forget my first language, Love, and don’t extend myself, to people or to the animals my heart begins to disconnect then gradually tune out and harden.
Our golden hearts have opportunities daily to extend ourselves, offering a hand to one another, to those we don’t know or think we know, to the animals and to Nature. To do otherwise means we risk missing our reason for being alive. To do otherwise, means we potentially miss our role in the greater awakening of Divine Love and getting “back to the garden” that is Earth.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse at imaginetheshift.com 8 July 2013, first posted 17 July 2012