"I want to to tell you a story about Yellowstone National Park in United States to show just how vital undisturbed forests and woodlands are to the future of our planet and how our appreciation for trees affects the way we interact with the world around us.
It all starts with the wolves. Wolves disappeared from Yellowstone, the world's first national park, in the 1920s. When they left, the entire ecosystem changed. Elk herds in the park increased their numbers and began to make quite a meal of the aspens, willows, and cottonwoods that line the streams. Vegetation declined and animals that depended on the trees left. The wolves were absent for seventy years. When they returned, the elks' languorous browsing days were over. As the wolf packs kept the herds on the move, browsing diminished, and the trees sprang back. The roots of the cottonwoods and willow once again stabilized stream banks and slowed the flow of water. This, in turn, created space for animals such as beavers to return. These industrious builders could now find the materials they needed to construct their lodges and raise their families. The animals that depended on the riparian meadows came back, as well. The wolves turned out to be better stewards of the land than people, creating conditions that allowed the trees to grow and exert their influence on the landscape."
This quote is contained in the "Introduction to the English Edition" of The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate; Discoveries from a Secret World (2016) by Peter Wohlleben, a German forest manager in the Eiffel mountains. His story brings to the fore, for me, the wisdom of the natural world and all of her inhabitants who each have an integral role in the ecosystem in which they reside.
My very first sighting of an owl was potentiated by Shasta, MuRefuge's Guardian of the subtle energy web. Her early morning notification that a BEing not usually present was visiting was loud and attention getting as usual. The sun had not yet risen so it was pretty dark as we stepped out of the sliding glass door to the cement patio. Shasta looked up into the two oak trees and gave her usual loud, deep bark that an intruder was present. The Great Horned Owl spoke in its identifiable hoot. We walked around the West side of the house to the front and I could hear the quiet flutter of the Owl's wings. I flashed a beam of light from the flashlight I was carrying up to the utility poll. There atop the Owl perched. The sense of gratitude flooded my BEing for the presence of this majestic creature that is often heard in our area but has remained unseen.
"Owl is a messenger, a holder of secret knowledge, and welcomes its shadow self. Seeing through deception, Owl perceives what others miss. Owl leads us into the dark unknown, reminding us to open our eyes and attune our senses, teaching us to receive inner wisdom and follow its guidance....
Listen! Watch! Be patient! Discern! Owl teaches us to find and follow our inner council. By piercing illusions, Owl extracts secrets, nudging us to see behind the scenes, under the surface, in the dark, in the depths of our being. Owl offers accurate vision and clear navigation through dreams, fears, and repressed emotion. Owl teaches us to pay attention to our perceptions-this is how we gain wisdom."
This quote is from Dawn Brunke's Animal Teachings: Enhancing Our Lives Through the Wisdom of Animals (2012). And her writing about what the animals from the natural world have shared with her is a reminder to connect with my inner wisdom. At this time in my life, with chaotic energy both here at MuRefuge and about the planet, the Owl's presence one morning past reminds me to BE with my inner knowing, aka wisdom, and the path through the chaos will be less treacherous.
And the female Indian Runner ducklings are also offering a similar message about honoring inner wisdom. I am with them during their afternoon foray into the vegetable garden. Even in their three week old development they know and trust their instincts, aka wisdom.
They forage, gathering ants from the soil and seeds from the European annual grass, and they munch on the tender new leaves of the clover. They trust me to carry them safely into the garden for their daily dose of warmth and sunshine. They run about freely and explore unhindered by fear of the unknown, demonstrating a natural curiosity.
They stretch their miniature long necks that are the Indian Runner trait when a crow flies over as though knowing that particular bird would not swoop down and have one or both for a tasty snack. They teach me to trust my untainted natural instincts, aka wisdom, and "go with the flow" of the natural world rather than down the path created for and by humans.
As we each access our inner wisdom and become conscious of our human foibles, may we