My friend walked down to the edge of the river, (before the flood) and noticed the crawdads were jumping out of the river—literally jumping out of the river and up onto the bank. When she told an official about this obscure behavior, he asked her what time it had happened. It was precisely the same time that the big wall of water had released out of the mountains and was on its way to Longmont.
Two days later, while people were frantic attempting to save their homes and find higher ground, my friend observed the Koi fish in her pond acting hyper and spastic. Behaviors she had never seen before. I mentioned the work of Masaru Emoto and how water reflects the vibrational qualities of the thoughts and emotional patterns in the local environment. It made sense that the fish might behave this way when there was so much anxiety, adrenaline, and fear within the community.
The night the water came gushing down the Little Thompson, flooding the river banks, taking houses, trailers, fences and pretty much anything in its way along downstream, I walked out to feed my horses. Each horse stood very quietly in their dry shelters. Each one watched my every move, not moving a muscle in their body, not even following me for the feed like they usually do. Their eyes penetrated my being. Their eyes were not searching into me. Instead they were bringing me to their wisdom and their knowing.
I stopped for a moment and entered into the herd space and time and I felt “it.” “It” was solemn energy, stillness to the bone, a deep knowing of what was to come. They were listening to something that was happening in another world and miles away. I too began to hear and sense it. In that moment I knew we were all going to be safe and that the next 24 hours were going to be much bigger than anticipated.
One hour before the Tsunami hit Indonesia a witness saw three elephants in the wildlife preserve run away from the beach and head to higher ground. During the Colorado flood animals had moved to higher ground. There were no elk or deer floating down the washes. Like the crawdads, they had jumped to where it was safe.
We as humans often view these animal behaviors as separate of our experience. We think and say things such as: Those animals are so intelligent. They have this extra sensory awareness. The animals know. Yes, indeed this is right. Their reptilian brains are wired to listen to the nuances of changing temperatures, moisture content in the air, the vibrational patterns of the land itself. They have this capacity.
And so do we.
The only difference is that we have stopped listening, trusting and allowing ourselves the time to drop into the wisdom we have.
In my twenties I spent many weeks and months living in the woods. I slept on the ground, walked on the earth, bathed in cold rivers, listened to the birds, and felt the climate on my skin. No cell phone, no television, no news channel to tap into so I would know how to dress. I seemed to do just fine.
The high mountain peaks of Jackson Hole became part of my being; the slot canyons of Utah kept me listening on all levels, the waters of the Grand Canyon spoke to my spirit. I would sense and know when my rain gear needed to be close. I could feel when an animal was watching me. I could sense when I needed to stop and listen more deeply, find shelter, or bask in the sun that would disappear soon. When the life of the woods and all of the critters became still and quiet I paid attention, as it always seemed that shortly thereafter big rains, storms, winds or major changes in the weather would occur. Often I would become one with the wildlife around me, finding myself only yards away from moose, elk, deer, and yes, sometimes bear. Even now I seldom spend time in nature without seeing or experiencing wildlife. This deep connection to mother earth and all of her creatures is still in me.
However, I have been urbanized. I made a conscious choice as my business grew to move back along the front range of the Rocky Mountains. Even though I live in the country and I still feel the vibrations of the earth and of the animals, I also hear the vibration of society. Cars, planes, electrical lines, distant trains, cell phones and the fast pace lifestyle that exists here. When the night comes I sit and sink back to the earth, listen to the birds and feel the depth of the roots of the trees on my property.
One of the philosophies for learning with horses is that they bring us back to the earth, to the land, to feel the energy and vibration of our natural environment. The horses help us to be open to the wisdom of our instinctual knowledge held in the reptilian brain. If we allow our sensory awareness to be alive and integrated into our consciousness, the result is a wisdom that is much greater and more complete than just intellect. It is a wisdom that is fully integrated with all that is around us and sees all as part of us. This integrated wisdom moves beyond the “I” and into the “we” and is in full communication with the needs of the earth, the climate and all living creatures. It tells us when to jump out of the river.
Without this integration, without the willingness to open our sensory awareness, we can only be observers in this journey called life. Life then becomes about what we consume or how we try to control our circumstances through separation, verses Life itself becoming our teacher.
Animals are not separate. They sometimes become less sensitive or in tune when we remove them from their natural environments and rythyms of the earth. Corazon, my wild horse is a perfect example of this. Over the years his inner wildness and highly sensitive nature has slowly become less accentuated through living in the human world. However, it is still there. He engages it when he needs it. He is solid in himself; his inner freedom and wisdom shall never be taken. My six acres surrounded by roads and barn lights at night certainly cannot provide the same stimulation as the big starry sky of the Pryor Mountains of Montana. He too has been urbanized.
In this moment while writing this article my inner wildness longs to return to the woods and to have that innate deeper connection with all that is alive in those environments. However, if I follow the lead of Cor, I know that no matter where my feet are standing on the earth, I determine what I listen to and how connected or disconnected from my own wisdom and all of the life around me I want to be. I can choose to listen to the earth and nature or the vibrations of urbanization.
Where do you connect and listen deeply to the essence of earth and all of its creatures?
What is your commitment to living with your senses wide open?
What do you choose to listen to?
The next time your body says jump (just like the crawdads) are you willing to listen?