There are times when anxiety comes along and grabs me refusing to let go. I go through the day feeling as though someone pulled a fire alarm in my brain and none of my thoughts know where to go. Sometimes, not often enough, when I go to bed after a really bad day, I dream and I am visited by a very calming presence.
In my dream there is a knock on my door, before I can open the door my comforter enters my home. The form that this comforting presence takes is that of a bull moose with a very large set of antlers. He maneuvers his head through the door and then follows me as I go back to bed. He then lies down next to my bed and shields me with his antlers. In the dream I feel his warm breath flow over me. Blowing away the stress so that my exhausted mind can rest. The dream feels so real that when I wake in the morning I expect to see some sign of his being there.
This morning, after waking up from a night of being protected by the moose, I started thinking about all the animals that have come into our house over the years. I live out in the woods.
A few of my children have established a walking spot on our property. It is a wonderful place to pace and meditate. My daughter has had many encounters with animals while walking. One day she was walking along minding her own business when she encountered a weasel. She screamed. He screamed. They both jumped. And then both went opposite directions. Another time my husband was sitting there when a bear wandered past him. He didn’t move, he just sat and watched the bear go past.
There have also been encounters within our house. A bat once got confused and thought just inside our back door was a good place to sleep for the day. A raccoon wandered in looking for stuff, noticed us and went back out. There was a bear that wandered through the addition we were adding to the house. He raided the ice chest where I had some food stored. (This was pre-electricity. Which we have had for about nine years now.) He stole my butter and unopened package of cherry kisses. Our dog decided that enough was enough and chased the bear up a tree. We finally got the dog to come in long enough for the bear to come down from the tree. Right after the bear came down the dog was out the door and treed the bear. Again. That was ten years ago and we haven’t had a bear roam through since. There have been humming birds, blue jays and other birds that have flown in through open doors. Sometimes I feel like we have no doors as far as the wildlife is concerned.
Living in a small community in Vermont has given me opportunities to heal. I have been absorbing the quiet as well as the not quiet (the coyotes singing and the sound of a fox screaming are not quiet). Here in the woods, I have had the chance to slow things down enough to learn to breathe again. I have learned to connect with the sound of the stream that runs right past our home. I am finally at a place where the pace of the world around me equals the pace my body and soul need to heal. My moose comes and protects me in the night. And during the day, I have the sound of the stream and the feel of the sun on my face enabling me to catch my breath and begin to breathe into the anxiety.