Sacred Journeys – June 2017Kim Elkington June 1, 2017
While having lunch with a group of friends recently, I had been sharing how challenging it can be to stay optimistic in these times of change. Someone in the group joked that humans might be a bit slow to outwardly show any strong markers of evolution, but animals are clearly teaching us the way forward. She was right! Before long, each of us had shared at least one remarkable, life-altering story of an animal showing us their own evolved consciousness. Perhaps our noticing is a sign that we are in fact able to now see what was always present in the animal kingdom. Here’s some examples:
1) It began with a story from Mik-ey, a resident of the Hawaiian Islands, where humpbacks go to calf in the winter months. She met a young man from New York City who had a life-changing experience working on the whale sightseeing tour boats. There was a humpback (kohola in Hawaiian) giving birth and sharks were drawn to the event. As the boat tour looked on, a pod of dolphins arrived and circled the whale for the entire birth, keeping the sharks away. Not all sharks would attack, but the dolphins chose as group to keep the outcomes on a high note. Thanks to the Endangered Species Act, and the dolphins, the humpback whale population has grown over the last 20 years from 6,000 to 21,000.
2) Mik-ey then shared a curious story about a reportedly evolved rock that “talked” to a boy she gave rides to on the island. He said the rock communicated that it wanted to go to the permaculture garden that the boy was working on. So he picked it up and carried it quite a distance to the garden. It was a very large rock but seemed light. He has since tried to move it and is unable to even budge it, because it is in fact extremely heavy. It appears that the rock got a ride, and is content to stay where it has been placed.
3) Another was the account of a well-respected photographer, Bruno Zehnder of Switzerland, who liked to study and photograph the breeding activities of emperor penguins in the Antarctic. Mr. Zehnder would stay at the Russian Mirny station so he could spend his days with the penguins, earning their trust and sitting quietly with his camera. Sadly, he died a few years ago, unable to find the station while returning in a bad storm. Because the ground was so hard at that time of year, his burial was delayed a few months, taking place instead on a tiny island called Buromsky. At the funeral, 30 emperor penguins showed up out of the blue, and stood in complete silence as he was lowered into the ground. Then the penguins swam back to the mainland.
4) Another lunch guest remembered being very moved while listening to a Michael Toms interview with an anti-ivory activist on New Dimensions radio. The activist was from the U.S. and had been focusing her efforts in East Africa, working to protect the elephants and their tusks. There was one particular elephant that had taken to following her around when she was giving educational talks to villagers. After her final talk before she was to leave the country, this elephant brought her a piece of elephant bone (a valued gift from a species that mourns its own family) to show appreciation to a conscious human.
5) My sister added a story of elephants walking to a man’s funeral in South Africa: http://tinyurl.com/ya34nlke.
6) My own story was of Ning Nong, a four-year-old elephant that took kids on rides to the water at a hotel in Phuket. One of those kids, in 2004, was four-year-old Amber Owen. She would go to visit Ning every morning and bring him bananas, and he would nuzzle in thanks. The morning of the tsunami there had been a small earthquake, but no one was talking about it. However, Ning, as Amber rode him, was anxious, turning away from the shore. Then he started to run inland as fast as he could go. Amber described how he withstood the force of the water of the first wave while trees and houses fell, and he kept going until he reached a wall she could climb up on, getting the little 4-year-old girl to safety and eventually to her mother. There is now a play about Ning Nong and Amber called Running Wild.
And on a summer calendar note, check out some very inspiring street theatre with five-story animals this July 27-30 as part of the summer celebration in Ottawa, called La Machine. For info. visit: http://tinyurl.com/y8wlyp53/