During the late spring of 2020, when the pandemic was in full swing and everyone lucky enough was just about used to working from home, a housing development project kicked off in full swing in the edge of our backyard. Sounds of construction were at an all-time high, but we dealt with it. When we discovered that an apartment complex was now scheduled to come up 30-40 feet from our bedroom window, we knew it was time to move.
The question was, where were we going to go?
This question in of itself was a luxury, with so many people losing their jobs and their homes since Covid-19 showed up. I'd been working tirelessly, healing on the fly, whether it was on a passing stranger on the side of the road, demoralized people on Facebook, and of course with Shaman's Cave healing lab, I felt I was called to do healing work in the world like never before. In fact, all of us makers were, maybe still are.
Like most people, I first enjoyed the quiet that settled over the world. Less people going about their day and less cars on the road gave society an initial reprieve, an opportunity to see first-hand the impact our human presence has on the world.
There were less carbon emissions, the air more breathable despite the masks we now wore when we left our homes. More animals ventured out. Even the sky seemed cleaner. Well, they were until the forest fires began to rage across the Pacific Northwest in the early fall of 2021— but that's another story.
This is a story about noise pollution and the relentless sounds of hammering that overtook the air as new roofs were installed. This is a story about animals, and the cause-effect relationship humans have in this new dystopic reality everyone found themselves in.
By nature, shamans are solitary creatures who like to live on the edge of civilization, invisible yet still accessible to the world from their small perch. Above the sounds of trucks and hammering, the question still remained: where were we going to go?
I cast this question out into the world with my intent and with my seeing in a method makers call "awake dreaming", then found the answer. It came in the form of a scene opening to my left, a glorious view of heavily treed mountains separating above misty waters that seemed to fly by me while back home my body sat on the couch with its eyes closed. My awareness projected to a place I had not yet been to but knew this was where we should pack up and move to.
A few months later, my partner and I took a road trip to the Olympic Peninsula: it was one of the places we felt called to see if it would be a good fit for us. In fact, when the fires raged about a mile away from us that September, I had put my finger on a map and instinctively felt this was where we needed to drive to if our status changed from level two to level one- which meant, be ready to run. We set out to drive to Forks, WA, stopping to visit the Hoh Rainforest before making our way to the 101 coastal highway 101. The plan was to check out the several port towns along the way....
…The Hoh rainforest is a magical place. But this isn't a story about the Hoh Rainforest: it's about an elk we met there.
We saw the young buck grazing in the distance as we ventured out on our hike, his budding horns still covered with protective mossy skin he would later scrape off to reveal his full regalia. However, on our way back, hours later, the same elk now blocked the path we needed to get back to our car.By law, and of course by laws of common courtesy, we couldn't get too close to the elk. After some time, we tried to pass as far away as we could from him but he wasn't having it and bared his teeth at us, nostrils flaring.
We backed off and sat on a fallen log a safe distance from him where we were in full view of the still-feeding elk and he in ours. He was simply majestic. I could tell he probably hadn't seen too many humans yet in his young life and decided to take advantage of the situation. I called up my dreaming energy connected it with the elks, quickly bowing my head low in respectful deference after we made eye contact and locked gazes for several seconds.
I felt him observing us. I began to openly show him that we were just a simple pair of primates who intended him no harm. I openly petted and cuddled my husband, kissed him, was affectionately playful with him. That elk studied us with great curiosity. When it felt like our presence was acceptance by him, it time to try again.
We got up and inched closer. When he looked up, I gestured with my chin, eyes, and energy towards the path and silently asked for permission to cross. I sensed his agreement as he looked away and lowered his head to continue grazing. As we came within six feet behind this magnificent creature, he didn't look back at us. I snapped a picture.
You can't hide who you are from animals. You can't perceive them as separate from you, or that you are better than them. You're not.
The moral of this is a simple: show animals the great respect they deserve and they in turn will respect you.
Later, as we made our way down the 101 that wrapped itself around the peninsula, we turned around the bend… suddenly, just as I had seen it in my awake dreaming session, a scene of heavily treed mountains opened above misty waters to my left, only I wasn't flying past them but driving.
Still, after all these years, the wonders of being a maker and moving through life as a maker has not left me. I intend that this feeling, a feeling akin to a deep joy and magical embrace, to stay with me for as long as my body stays anchored in this world.
Later that night, I slipped into Awake Dreaming to find that same elk and enter its dreams. When I found him, I saw him lift his head in surprise then felt a rush of love so profound overtake me. It was unlike any kind of love we humans are generally capable of feeling and expressing in our consensus reality that wounds us.
My seeing took a step back and I found myself looking at the energy pool of the Elk species… Like shamans, male elks are solitary creatures, but in looking at them while awake dreaming I saw how the elk played a big role in keeping the dream of the earth alive in this small sliver of earth.
As I drifted off into sleep, the message I heard from the elk was that to live in the Olympic Peninsula is a great responsibility. Since moving here I've been the process discovering just what this responsibility is- but that's another story too. It is one that applies to not just here in the OP, but in the world at large.
I intend for you the discovery of how this great responsibility is also a great privilege. Your world view will be forever changed, as will your relationship with animals and nature.