Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘animals’

Raven Song & Shadow Wolf


LongSnowsMoonLong Snows Moon
by Stacey Darlington
Reviewed by Gabriel Constans

A line in Long Snows Moon, that could be used to describe the story, says, “Find your mate, heal your mother, and teach wolf magic.” First people, animal totems, forest creatures, and a history of loss, love, and secrets, swirl around Jameson Jordan/Raven Song and Devon Danworth/Shadow Wolf. 

Jameson lives in the woods by herself, and Devon grew up in a life of city luxury. They are brought together as girls, when Devon’s mother adopts a half-breed dog/wolf, named Moon, for Devon, from Jameson and her mother (Doctor Joann Jordan). Jameson sees herself as a “half-breed” as well, having a white father and her Native-American mother.

Talking with, and to, owls, snakes, wolves, bears, and other living beings, comes naturally to Jameson, and later Devon, as they find their way to one another as adults. Speaking with, and hearing messages from, non-humans, has a major impact and influence on the characters and story. There are times when it is not clear whether humans are animals, or vice-a-versa, and some unexpected twists at the end of the story delightfully emphasize those qualities.

Long Snows Moon contains deep life-lessons, and ways of seeing things, without sounding like a philosophy textbook, or native cliches. Jameson and Devon are beautiful, strong, complicated, independent women whose love is strong enough to let each take the path they must follow, whether together or alone.

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Losing A Pet

They say cats have nine lives. I wish that were true, but the facts contradict such myths. Everything dies, including the felines, dogs and other creatures we choose to care for and have in our lives. Most animals tend to have a shorter life span than humans, thereby increasing the chances that our beloved friend will stop breathing long before we leave our mortal bodies behind.

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An excerpt from Good Grief: Love, Loss & Laughter.

To add insult to injury; is the often callous or dismissive attitude and comments of others when we’ve lost a non-human friend. People don’t always understand the emotional impact losing a pet can have. They disregard our pain when we try to talk about the cat or dog we’ve had for fifteen years getting sick and needing constant attention. They scoff at our tears, when our affectionate tabby is lost or killed by a car. They belittle our sense of shock and disbelief when the dog we loved and cared for tenderly for the last eight years suddenly dies.

Yet, for some, pets, animals, and companions (which ever you prefer to use as a label for non-human creatures) are some of the closest and endearing connections we experience in life. Being responsible for any of the varied creatures placed in our care takes time, attention and devotion. And, just like people, such continued time and attention creates attachment, bonding and lasting imprints.

The love and commitment we give and receive from our animal friends, in some respects, are quite unique from that of other relationships. Sometimes, they are the only living beings that love us unconditionally and don’t argue, judge or hurt us in any way. They also provide forms of communication beyond words. There desire to be touched, patted, combed, and talked to, provide warmth, softness, connection, meaning and continual reminders of enjoying the present moment.

A lady I recently met was shocked when told by her veterinarian that their beloved kitten had cancer and should be euthanized. She refused and is currently seeking a vet that will give Hospice-type services for her cat, and provide whatever is needed to make sure her family friend dies comfortably at home enjoying as many precious moments that remain. Like human beings, there should be an alternative for animals beyond that of further treatments or mercy killing.

Losing a pet also awakens other losses we’ve experienced; whether recent or long ago. When a cat of ours, named Sushi, was killed by a dog a couple of years ago, I unexpectedly found myself remembering my childhood collie, named Pinky and the grandmother I used to visit when Pinky was still alive.

The loss of your animal friend should be treated the same as that of a human. Talk about the loss; share your pictures, memories, tears and grief. Walk, run, swim, workout, hike, bicycle, dance, play or listen to music a couple of times s a week by yourself or with a friend.

Breathing exercises, visualizations, relaxation, stretching, meditation, affirmations and yoga have all been shown to relieve stress, anxiety and positive endorphins to help the body heal.

Relax in a hot tub, hot bath, shower, sauna or sweat lodge and let the emotions seep from your pores and evaporate with the steam.

Put together a collage, altar, memory book, picture frame, treasure box, video or CD of your cat, dog, bird, horse or rabbit.

Have a service or gathering. Memorials and/or funerals; provide validation of your relationship with that being; acknowledgment that their life was of value; and societal affirmation that all living creatures are to be honored and respected.

If you’ve lost an animal friend, at any time in your life and would like some additional support (outside your circle of family and friends) contact the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals), an empathetic therapist or your local grief-counseling center.

Further reading at: Good Grief: Love, Loss and Laughter.

Our Slithery Friends

An excruciating excerpt from Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

Sister Bonsai and Abbott Tova were on their hands and knees digging up the soil in the garden to plant some hemp seeds. When Sister Bonsai lifted a rock to make way for the next row, a cobra raised its head and spit in her direction. She fell backwards just in time to miss being hit in the face. Abbott Tova grabbed her arms and quickly pulled her farther away from the deadly snake.

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“Oh my!” exclaimed Sister Bonsai. “That was close.”

The Abbott nodded. “It’s good you’re fast on your feet or should I say rapidly falling? At least you fell in the right direction.”

“Thank you,” Sister Bonsai exclaimed.

“No problem,” the Abbott replied. “I thought we’d weeded out all our slithery friends.”

“Friends? How can you call that awful creature a friend? It almost killed me.”

“They probably thought you were trying to kill them. How would you react if you were sleeping in a cool shady spot under a large solid mass and suddenly the roof was lifted away and a giant shadow hovered over you?”

“You’re right,” Sister Bonsai replied. “I never thought of it like that.”

They both watched the cobra slither away, down towards the gully to find another safe shady area. As they stood and made their way to the shed for the bag of seeds, Sister Bonsai looked puzzled, still a little shaky, and deep in thought.”

“What are you thinking?” Abbott Tova inquired.

“Why were such deadly creatures created and other nuisances like fleas and mosquitoes?”

“They just are. I’m not sure if they were ‘created’ as such, but perhaps existed previously in other forms.”

“And why,” Sister Bonsai continued, “do some animals eat their prey while they are still alive? It seems especially cruel and barbaric.”

“Why does suffering exist?” replied Abbott Tova. “Why is their pain, loss, sickness, discomfort, old age, and death?”

“Those are deep questions Master, but your question does not answer my question.”

“Nor should it,” said The Master, as she scooped some seeds into the bag they were both holding.

“If there are no answers and only more questions, then what’s the use in trying to make sense of anything?”

“Indeed.” Abbott Tova grabbed another spade, as she and her student walked back to the field.

“So, you’re saying there is no need to figure anything out or make sense of the world we live in?”

“As a famous songwriter and activist once said,” The Master surmised, “We’re just sitting here watching the world go round and round.”

“That’s sounds nice, but doesn’t solve any of our problems.”

“He also said, ‘There are no problems, only solutions.’”

“Then what’s the solution?” Sister Bonsai asked.

“Ah, that’s a good question.” Abbott Tova replied thoughtfully. “Here, take this.” She handed the Sister the bag. “Let’s plant these seeds and give them some water.”

More abundant wisdom at: Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.

Help Women In Nepal

Dear Gabriel,

Providing high quality livestock and agricultural training to poor farmers has proven exceptionally effective in Nepal where two-thirds of the people depend on subsistence agriculture for a living. This has truly created a revolution in Nepal, where families living in poverty can procure economic security in one generation.

Now, you have the opportunity to become part of this revolution. Add your name to the pledge showing you support these women as they learn, train, and work their way to economic freedom.

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The program helps provide goats, vegetable seedlings and training in animal care and small-scale agriculture. In many cases this has given women the means to support their families and provide their children with the opportunity to pursue their dreams. These are amazing accomplishments for women in a country where chronic gender discrimination has historically prohibited them from owning animals, property or even holding jobs.

Let’s be part of this incredible transformation. Sign this action to support 25,000 families in Nepal.

Thank you for taking action,

Sharanya P.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

Red-tailed Hawk of Central Park

Dear Gabriel,

Pale Male, the red-tailed hawk of Central Park, was the first hawk known to build its nest on a building rather than in a tree. He’s lived in the city for more than two decades now and produced many offspring — many of which have survived thanks to the work of Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation (WINNOR).

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But this crucial group could be shut down by the town of Oyster Bay, Long Island. Care2 member Robin Lynn started a petition to save WINNOR and is delivering the signatures on Tuesday. Sign now to help her convince Oyster Bay to back down.

WINNOR has worked for more than a decade to help wildlife in need in the the New York City area. They have federal and state licenses for wildlife rehabilitation and help animals from ducks to foxes thrive in this developed area.

But after Oyster Bay residents allegedly complained, the town has decided ducks, turkeys, hawks and baby foxes are “dangerous animals,” thus making it illegal to keep them in a residential area under a town ordinance. If the suit goes forward, it could wreck the whole organization.

There are just a few days left to make our voices heard. Tell Oyster Bay you want WINNOR to keep protecting New York’s wildlife!

Thank you for taking action,

Emily V.
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

Nature Spring & Climate

Dear Gabriel,

Check out our We Love Nature page to learn about animals at risk from climate change. It’s March and spring is in the air. Days are longer. Birds are migrating north to fill our yard with their cheerful trills. And out of our windows, we watch nature come back to life.

Here at EDF, we’ve decided to spend March celebrating all that nature gives us — and all that we’re fighting to protect. Will you join us?

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Kick off our “We Love Nature” month with us! Start by checking out our Warming and Wildlife slideshow. We all know climate change has put polar bears at risk — but it’s also threatening the rest of these beautiful, unique creatures.

As I read about the struggles of the Arctic fox, the sea turtle, and even the flamingo, I was reminded why I come to work at EDF every day — and why incredible supporters like you stand with us.

I hope you’ll click through to view our Warming and Wildlife slideshow. If you enjoy the show, please share it with your friends as well, and stay tuned for more nature love throughout the month!

Thank you for your activism and support,

Heather Shelby
Action Network Coordinator
Environmental Defense Fund

As Easy As Counting To Eight

Did you know that you can go to The Hunger Site and Click To Give daily and donate (for free through various sponsors) to these causes/issues?

MSF_Value_Espen25c_MonthlyGift_160x600_LP-Alternate7.50Hunger

Breast Cancer

Animals

Veterans

Autism

Child Health

Literacy

Rainforest

With each click 5 cents are donated to the specific organization. It may not seem like much, but if you do it daily it can add up to several hundred dollars in a years time.

Go to The Hunger Site can click on the buttons at the top of their home page.

It also connects you with other sites such as Doctors Without Borders.

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