Wild Dogs, Eagles and a Special Kind of Intelligence!

Peace-of-Eden Series

By now you may think I worship and idealize animals. That is not wholly true, I value and respect them as part of our integral well-being.

Linda Hogan who cared for the restoration of several eagle species in the United States, said that her experience of these amazing birds helped her to understand there was an intelligence that they conveyed, that was beyond words, she said:

"…working with animals became the center of my life, the pivot point at which I learnt to think, and because of this work I took a fresh look at the traditions of the past. I offered animals my time and care, bathing them, feeding them, cleaning their cages, and removing the carcasses of their prey. It was hard work, dirty work, but in exchange they offered me peace, and healing, a kind of knowledge that is still finding its way into words. I knew I was in the presence of intelligence, and I had to learn new kinds of behavior to be with them, a slowness, a stillness and inner silence that is no longer common in our fast-moving lives, a careful watching to see if their health had improved or lessened. But mostly what I learned turned me back toward the traditions of my ancestors and those of other tribal people to help me define the possibilities of the future and of the relationship between animals and ourselves.’

She continues:

"Animals hold us to what is present, to who we are at the time. What is obvious to an animal is not the embellishment that fattens our emotional resumes, but what is bedrock or cement in us: aggression, fear, insecurity, happiness or opportunity. Because they have the ability to read our involuntary tics and scents, we are transparent to them, and thus exposed – we are finally ourselves.”

Linda initially observed and worked to sustain eagle populations, I was drawn to the preservation of the Painted Hunting Dogs. One day as I was watching them wake-up from a mid-day sleep and prepare for an evening hunt, this is a poem I wrote that expressed the experiences, thoughts and understandings they evoked within me:

Their stretches and yelped, mouth-pressed greeting combined with wilderness smells and light-fading shadows, stirred the same passionate response within me that they might have been feeling as they prepared for the evening hunt.
I felt a combination of yearning expectation that anything could happen next,
Tumbled together with a sense of ease, and of 'having arrived'.

The Painted Hunting Dogs seem to face life with exhilaration and freedom:
Whether they skim across the uneven, bushy terrain -
Colours merged,
Feet barely touching the ground,
muscles taut,
and eyes red and focused,
as they gain on the prey ahead;
Or whether they exuberantly play,
Chasing each other around bushes,
Or rising up like suspended towers - face to face - in challenging opposition.

They are fierce, focused and free,
But they know the discipline of their intent.
They are gentle and eagerly greet one another with snarled kisses.
They are uniquely patterned and individually tasked,
Yet they submit all of these celebrated idiosyncrasies,
To the well being of the pack.

They know aloneness,
Yet they belong.
I long to be like them:
To know freedom as well as purpose in life.
To have worth and identity as an individual pack member,
As well as the warmth and companionship of relationship greeting,
And the security of pack-caring.
I would like to bounce and dart with innocent movement,
As well as to know the adrenaline-pulse and bonded-challenge of the hunt.

The Wild Dogs tug at the chords of my inner most being;
At the internal drumbeat reminiscent of my bushman roots.
Deep down inside is the yearning for wild open spaces,
The need to run wild and free without complication and without pain.
There seems to be an umbilical connection between my soul
and that of the wild dogs
and that of my ancestors:
Some way in which we were bonded together along some evolutionary paradigm.
Out of this soul-harmony
There comes a pulsing desire
That begins as a small heartbeat within
But compounds as it reverberates outwards
To shout from the most far-reaching pinnacle
About the desire to live in balance and in harmony
With Divine Oneness and all that He created

Maybe you have had some amazing experiences with the animals you have observed or taken care of? I would love to hear about those experiences, and possibly with your permission, share what happened to you with other 'De Hoorn' readers.