Old dogs, war dogs, puppies or strays,
Poetry has power to brighten our days
Dog stories and poems are best read aloud,
To an audience of one or a theater crowd.
Carol Hawke © TheDogPlace.org - December 2009
I am always interested in animals and their unique interaction with people when it’s not merely on the physical plane. Indeed, these relationships can have deep, spiritual significance.
I've had some interesting experiences myself, a few that cross those intriguing, paranormal parameters.
A few years back, I foolishly agreed to go on a winter road trip with mother and my sister from MN. The journey was long and tedious, just for starters. After innumerable side trips and silly disagreements, we finally arrived at our destination – a lovely Tampa residence we once owned - only to have sister smoke us out by failing to work the fireplace correctly. We all ended up in yet another meager motel. I was feeling ill by that time; thoroughly fed up with the endless female bickering over equally endless details and called hubby to arrange a ticket to fly home.
Our little party headed for the Orlando airport and spent yet another night at a motel there. Still feeling unwell, I assumed mom and sis would drive me to the airport the next morning but they deeply resisted the inconvenience of driving toward downtown rather than away from it (petrified country dwellers.) I told them to go and I would take the motel transport. I cannot recall a time I had felt so utterly abandoned by my family as I waved after their van whilst they departed out of sight, leaving me to fend for myself. Silly as it is, I felt just as if I had been dropped off on a deserted island! At any rate, I decided, weary and broken hearted to seek a chair by the pool in the meager warmth of the early morning winter sun.
As I rounded the corner to the abandoned pool to take a chair, I very nearly stepped upon a bird, but no! It was a pair of birds! There at my very feet were two Mourning Doves (my favorite of all birds) and they were crouched side by side on the cement walkway, apparently sunning. They did not move or even make a noise. I stared down in shock awaiting that familiar whistling flutter of their wings because they are a notably shy bird but these did not budge. In fact, they remained in place as I sat down right next to them within arms reach. I longed to touch them but could only stare with stunned appreciation. The wonder of it all filled my heart as they peered at me with dark, searching eyes that seemed to penetrate my soul. There was something remarkably human about their expressions. I wanted to pinch myself and verify that I was not dreaming, after all.
A few minutes later my cell phone rang, startling me from my abject fascination and, happily, it was my hubby. Even the loud cell phone ring did not startle those two birds away. It was as if they had been glued to the cement. The comfort of hubby's voice cheered me as I excitedly related the story of the pair of Mourning Doves at my feet in a hushed tone. As our conversation engaged me and I felt my focus turning away from the birds, suddenly the pair flew off directly over my head, very nearly touching me! I knew God had sent them inasmuch to say, "I promised never to leave you or forsake you...(even if family does) I love you, my child."
It is perhaps, little surprise that someone with the last name “Hawke” might share some spiritual connection with birds. The Mourning Dove incident was not my first encounter; I had another many years earlier in the home where we raised, virtually, all of our showddogs. I had been extremely ill and wondered if I should ever really recover. Seeking God with all my weary heart, I hoped, as we all do…for that miracle, that breakthrough I desired. A sudden healing did not come, no, there would be long months and some years of struggle ahead. But at the point I think I might have given up all hope, I felt the sudden desire to step out onto the front porch early one morning about dawn.
There before me was the most magnificent and HUGE white bird I think I’ve ever seen. It looked like a dove or a pigeon perhaps but stood so very tall. I think it might have been close to the size of a parrot! The shock of it standing near me on the porch took me aback and I did not know whether to move or call for someone else to see it. Again, I just stood there, entranced in a scene from which I could neither depart nor ascend. These are moments you can live in, spiritually speaking, that transcend time, space and matter - all of that wonderful stuff that keeps us contented prisoners here. This enormous bird stood its ground staring at me gently for a very long time. I decided to go back into the house to tell someone about it but when I returned, it was gone. Someone said it might have been a homing pigeon but do they really grow to that size? Are they stark white with a distinct glow about them? I swear to you, it is like you see in those silly movies where little sparkles seem to emanate from the princess or prince in a glow.
I suppose that should be enough about non-carnivorous birds from the standpoint of a Hawke, but let me add one final episode. In this present house where our children have grown, left home and all my dogs have departed save the eldest, I have known such a deep, internal sorrow I cannot explain it. It is, perhaps, the deep sorrow of seeing ones beloved relationships depart, one by one and many of them, permanently. There are no words to express this feeling but it lives inside the soul where it will not depart. Growing through that sadness is much more difficult for artsy types who choose to work at home, I think. Thus, I had reached yet another point in my life where I was sure there was no more hope or future for myself. I began to pray diligently. I am not quite sure what I was praying for except for the sorrow to depart and for hope to take its place as in what we remember most and adore about youth.
Every day throughout summer, I made a morning trek out to the creek at the edge of our backyard and would sit there basking in whatever nature might offer me that day. As I sat on the wooden bench my husband had kindly made for me, I heard the familiar noisiness of ducks nearby in the rushes. Often they would suddenly appear and swim past me always peering in some concern as to whether I would turn out friend or foe. This day a white flash cut a fine straight path through the water before me. It was an all white mallard style duck. White as the glow of the tip of a lit candle! I watched again in complete fascination as she swam in slow, graceful circles before me. She never left my sight. In awhile, other ducks swam about her but she seemed to live in her own world and did not join them. She was stunning and radiant and she knew it!
Day after day she would come while I waited and swim about me in those slow circles, preening and then making eye contact with me. One day, in my rapt fascination I called out to her aloud without thinking, “You are SO BEAUTIFUL!” She turned toward me, almost shyly and as if in appreciation, then she swam away. But not before I caught the tail end of her departure on camera. There is little to see in my photo, I am afraid. But perhaps if you look very closely, you might just see the sparkles emanating from the trail behind her. I never saw her again after that day.
So, I leave you with my paranormal bird relationships. (They come, they go, but they never call or write….!)
Typical Jewish mother I guess…
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