Have you ever had a connection with an animal that inspired you?
We are a nature-strong family and so we love to feed the birds, watch the squirrels run around, leave wildflowers uncut for the bees and appreciate nature in all its glory.
But, even though we already admire nature, I can still be awed and inspired by how amazing animals can be. The peace I have felt when visited by a chickadee, or chipmunk or even a falcon (that was a truly inspiring moment which I recall later in the blog) cannot even be described with words. It is truly a connection with nature that fills your whole being.
An admiration for nature, understanding the awesomeness that it holds is a great way to teach appreciation for others and for our world.
Book recommendation: Animals and our emotional wellbeing
Authors share their stories about the importance of their connections with animals when connections with other humans was so difficult. They acknowledged their pets’ contributions to their life and growth and they wrote of the healing that their pets helped them do. Accompanied by beautiful watercolour paintings by Dr. Irene Oktaba, this book is truly a treasure and an inspiration.
This is not a children's book, but a lovely book for adults to read and start a conversation with kids about how they connect with animals.
I have been working with The Benjamin Project which is a not-for-profit organization with a focus on education about proper animal stewardship and fundraising for charities that benefit animals. The education program this organization is going to offer is an in depth look at pet responsibility, the ways of animals (like camouflage), working animals and more.
They believe that helping children learn about proper animal stewardship will help make the world a better place, for humans and animals.
Although the focus is largely on pet ownership and all the responsibilities that come with it there are also sections on wild animals that teach respect and admiration for all animals.
from their website:
"Imagine a world where all children could experience the joy of nurturing a pet and learning about the compassion and intelligence which pets possess.
A world where there is no more abuse, and companion animals are protected by legislation as sentient beings and not as property.
Where every young person’s voice is heard when it comes to advocating for responsible pet stewardship.
Where the need for shelters, rescues, and animal welfare organizations becomes obsolete because every animal has a home.
All it takes is ONE generation to create such a world. "
The Merlin's visit
Because of the closures connected to the pandemic, much of what I did as part of my writing career was put on hold. I could no longer visit schools, sell books in markets and connect with people in person to share the love of learning. I kept myself busy writing stories, posting on social media etc. but still felt a bit lost and out of touch. Luckily, there is a nature trail nearby that allows me to visit a pond and breathe in nature and relax.
On one particular day, when I was feeling a little down, and a little unsure with how to move forward I sat down at the pond and tried to relax. Within minutes a Merlin perched on the dead tree trunk just beside where I was sitting. It sat there looking at me and looking around (and of course, I snapped some photos). It then flew off to another tree. But, a few minutes later it was back and this time it perched on a branch right above me. It enjoyed some dragonfly lunch, called out (was it talking to me?) and flew off. It was a brief encounter but I was excited it chose to visit me on that day. As I looked up the meaning of a Merlin it said in general, that it symbolizes endurance.
This encounter, and this message, seems to have restored my faith in myself, and in what I am doing and has cleared some of the cobwebs away from my mind that settled there during the pandemic. It was one of the most remarkable, inspirational and heartfelt experiences I have encountered.
I hope you have a chance to experience nature's inspiration, to feel that powerful bond between animal and human, and to feel at peace in the world.
"How it is that animals understand things I do not know, but it is certain that they do understand. Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it. Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul."
― Frances Hodgson Burnett