Thursday, September 25, 2008
Autumn Equinox - part lll
When I’m able to keep my eyes wide open, keep my ears wide open and keep my spirit wide open – Mystery speaks. As with most things, all it takes is paying attention. It might be an overheard conversation… a phone call from a friend, just when you needed one… a storm… a hummingbird… an eagle feather… an ancient fossil. These messages happen to us all of the time, if only we stop to see.
My wife and I were sitting in the late afternoon sun. We sat on a garden bench outside the oncology center, taking a break from the “too much reality” going on inside. We were noticing how the light is changed in autumn – subtler observations than the reality trying to bludgeon us inside the hospital walls. The last flowers stretched themselves to the sky, to the sun… the last vivid colors before this northern world would soon be stripped down to white, black and shades of gray for many months to come. Soon enough, our eyes would hunger for color and light. We absorbed the last of the warming light falling on our faces that were still brown from the summer sun.
All throughout the garden, chipmunks were scurrying about – under the bushes, through the flowers, busy and hard at work, stuffing their cheeks, chattering to one another, looking for seeds and other edible treasures to stash away for the coming winter months.
Suddenly, darting out from the bushes, appeared the different one – the outlier. He was completely white; no stripes of darker brown down his light brown back; no tan underbelly – totally white. For a moment we tried to grasp what different kind of an animal this was. He behaved just like all of the others, scurrying frenetically as chipmunks do and we realized he was an albino chipmunk. Fascinated, we sat there and watched him closely doing his work, when out of the blue, he charged over the mound of wood chips under the pine tree and ran straight at us, stopped abruptly and fell over on his side about five feet away.
What? He didn’t move. We couldn’t understand what we were seeing – and what we were seeing was a pure, white chipmunk, who had fallen in his tracks, that now appeared either dead or unconscious. He lay there absolutely still and unmoving, as were we. We looked at each other confused, trying to comprehend the scene, while the other chipmunks continued their afternoon’s work of harvesting. We puzzled over the little guy’s demise for a couple of minutes when as suddenly as he’d fallen, he now leapt to his feet, shook it off and ran back into the underbrush, as if nothing unusual had just happened.
In a nutshell: we had witnessed a fluke of nature – an outsider, an outlier from the norm – a little white ghost of a creature. We had seen him active in his chipmunk life of autumn harvesting. We had watched him keel over as if he were dead. And we had seen him resurrect. Before our eyes we had seen life come back into him – a private showing for my wife and I only. I admit, I was highly drugged on morphine at the time, but my wife was not. She confirmed it wasn’t the drugs speaking to me. It actually had been a visitation and a message from an albino chipmunk, never to be seen again. His message I would carry within and remember again and again in the coming months…
The universe has interesting ways of getting our attention if we:
Keep our eyes wide open,
Keep our ears wide open,
And keep our spirits wide open –