I took an early morning walk today with my friend Danielle. There lying on our path was a fuzzy, tiny-eyed vole curled in on himself like he had just died. When I tried to nudge him into the grass he extended his clawed feet and gasped for air. Oh goodness, he’s alive! Danielle, a rescuer of all things green or fuzzy, scooped him into her mittened hands and quickly asked the question we all must, “ What should we do with him?” followed by, “I wonder what voles eat?”
On the return walk the vole gasped to breathe a few more times, wriggled warmly into her cupped hands, burrowing deeper as the sun rose higher. Soon he was turning about, bum in the air, fast asleep. Once home and into a shoe box he drank milk from a dropper and scarfed some well cooked, extra-mushy oats like he hadn’t eaten in a week.
It really didn't require much effort to save this tiny wonder, and reminds me of one of my favorite teaching topics about becoming a steward of the seemingly insignificant, especially in Spring when life is fragile and pushing toward survival all around us. The season is a feast for our senses, exhibiting a colossal burst of vitality — such a magical time to witness the smallest to the grand and help it become whatever it is meant to be.
Another favorite topic is our selective love of nature; it is impossible to love the raptors and not their food if you truly wish to consider yourself intelligent, an urban naturalist, a conservationist, or even a peace-loving hippie. This selective attitude is what has allowed such utter misunderstanding of the cycle and circle of life. We tend to demonize anything that eats us and ignore anything we cannot see the relevancy of, or eat. I just saw a title of a book about whether or not humans are smart enough to know how smart animals are. I am pretty sure the answer is a big, resounding NO!
One way to become a more sane steward of life is to care for everything as though it matters, as though it was the last little vole in the universe, so to speak. Of course take the necessary precautions, read about the fuzzy rodents before you try cuddling them, but in the end do whatever you can to preserve life. Ahimsa Amen!
In Shamanic wisdom the animals are offering their medicine, literally helping us to heal by their very presence and our crossing of paths. When I began using animal medicine cards I started seeing more wildlife and able to discern specific messages important to my life. What a blessing.
Mother’s Day is around the corner, perfectly placed in spring where mothering is a literal cacophonous pulse, a birdsong beckoning for us to get wise, see the interconnection and go the extra mile to care for life in need, be it of the rodent, the raptor or the human kind.