Last night we were thrilled by a personal visit- in no way a rare occurrence here in the mountains of New Mexico- and watched like enthusiastic children as he explored a num-licious dumpster within a stone's throw of our front yard. Ratonians here love their bears and the street was soon lined with neighbors grinning at the sight of this little guy's evening snack hunt. My husband loves this shot because it shows Little Mr. Bear's leathery paws.
He made a mess, but nobody seemed to mind. Once he sauntered off to greener dumpsters, everyone just kind of ambled over and returned his messy garbage back to the metal tank where it belonged. Cleaning up after the ursine residents is an everyday event here.
The medicine, or power, of the bear represents introspection. If Bear visits you, it's your call to enter the silence where your inner knowing resides. Like a bear's tendency to hibernate, it asks that we step away from the chaos and stimulation of everyday life- just for a time- until the answers to our questions are received in the silence. It's an invitation to meditate. To stop trying so hard.
It's amazing- all of the answers inside of us- when we just shut up and listen for once; something I've never been particularly good at. As I watched him last night, naturally quiet over his sweet magnificence, I thought of this very aspect and how much I needed his guidance right now.
The truth is, it was last winter when the Bear totem last visited me. Retreating to the silence and going within, I was told that my life was going to be changing. The next day, I adopted a tiny puppy, left to starve in a Raton alleyway. I named him Miakoda, which means the power of the moon, but call him Koda for short, which means spirit ally. Koda turned out to be much more than an ordinary dog to us, which is a simple qualifier neither good nor bad. My husband and I, with all of our hearts, love ordinary dogs. But from the moment he entered our lives we felt there was something odd about him, something ancient, still, and wise. He came here to teach us something.
In addition to all of that, we also discovered that Koda has the most severe case of juvenile onset Canine Hip Dysplasia we've ever seen, which is no small detail being that my husband and I met in a surgical veterinary hospital where we both worked in orthopedics. For seven years I did nothing but look at the xrays of dysplastic dogs. Now I was faced with a huge financial responsibility, or the only alternative was to put this puppy- this spirit messenger- to sleep. Koda taught me to believe in myself. Koda taught me that it was time to come out of my own personal hibernation. Koda taught me that it was time to share my gifts and go back to work. Koda taught me to trust in the Good Red Road.
And the bear last night- finally and completely- taught me that this is the end of the line for Stark Raving Zen, which I love dearly. But it's time. I'm going to leave it accessible, rather than delete the entire thing, for reasons I will explain in a final entry. But for me it's time to grow. To evolve. To follow my heart. That means a new blog. The name: Koda's Totems. It will be a celebration of nature, animal totems, American Indian wisdom, Koda's medical progress (he's having his surgery soon), and I'll also be offering some card reading services through my new blog. It will be my photography without the past SRZ energy of politics or anger or anti-anything. It will be a way to honor everything in the natural world. No more Stark Raving... I hope you won't mind.