Hello my name is Patty and I am an animal lover. From wildly beasts of far away jungles and mountain tops, to cottage critters, forest fauna, barnyard buddies, domestic bliss fur balls, buggy beauties and the local likes of squirrels and their city counterparts – I love them all.
As many of you may already know; I was “imprinted” early on in my life by the spirit of animals. You know the story – I’ve told it a thousand times – left by my Mum for just minutes in my carriage in the backyard at the early age of 3 months only to have her return and find three squirrels nuzzled up snoring beside me. The love and magic of animals has been with me ever since.
Animals, birds, bugs and even our friends with fins have naturally mastered a beautifully simple way to live and be on this earth. They innately love themselves – just as they are – which is something we humans could take a lesson from. When I was little, my Dad and I would sit in the woods for hours and just watch, listen and absorb every little nuisance of every living thing. It was a time of peace, togetherness and oneness. Those times taught me that to have the privilege to engage with wildlife, one must be wildlife. To be one with their nature, respect their space, their routine, their energy and earn their trust before a kindred connection can occur. Oh and of course speak snerney berney* (* the ecstatic, euphoric, enraptured hysterically high-pitched rhyming, nonsensical language understood by all animals). It’s a magic moment to sit in the woods, making wailing sounds like a baby (official fawn call) – “whimpering” back and forth to nearby fawns, so they feel safe enough to come close and share a slice of apple. If you ever wondered whether heaven on earth was possible, it is, as proof the time I visited a field filled with rabbit warrens, and lay with pieces of bread scattered on my body as dozens of bunnies hopped over to nibble (aka kiss) and hang out. And if you’re looking for a quick and easy love in – just wave peanut in front of a chipmunk’s nose and it’s love at first sight.
Call me a crazy cat lady, squirrel whisperer, pachyderm playmate or monkey maniac – but some of my best and my most profound experiences and lessons of my life have come from spending time with these perfectly magnificent and magical creatures of our world.
For instance, chipmunks teach me to always save a peanut for a rainy day. Lucy, the Wolf Spider who lives in my tree house at the cottage shows me the patience and endurance it takes to weave extraordinarily artistic webs. There was the time I was hiking the West Coast trail and was visited by a black bear (while sunbathing naked on an inescapable sandy inlet) I instantly learned “sharing is caring” as I handed over our lunch (for our lives). Then there were those ferocious, disease-infested, vicious monkeys in Burma that I was told to not approach, not touch, not feed and under ANY circumstance to not make eye contact with them – funny no one told me not to cuddle them – so I did and was overtaken by adorably loveable monkeys. Lesson learned… monkey see…monkey do.
But of all the lessons I’ve learned from animals over my life there is one that I hold closest to my heart. It is from Angus, my cat and love of my life for the past sixteen years, whom I had to let go off last week and let him cross the rainbow bridge. Thank you Angus, this is a good one.
The more love you give – the more love you will have in return.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” Anatole France
Dedicated to Angus ~ 2000 – June 2016.