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Hard Starts & Hawks

Yesterday was one of those days that started off hard. Very hard. It wasn’t as soon as I got up, I got to do my normal coffee/writing thing. But then I realized that the dog was somehow missing from the hotel room...and I panicked.

This is not a new thing. She has gotten out several times. Always taking off for wherever her nose leads her. I have been sure on more than one occasion that I would never see her again.

I woke my daughter and we began running all over the hotel looking for her. I was crying. My daughter had a cooler head.

I was quite a sight...pjs on, slippers, no bra, my hair a wreck - I am running around the grounds crying and calling her name.



L U L U!

The more I can’t find her, the more I cry. I have lost my daughter’s dog! She is never going to forgive me. Now our mother/daughter/dog trip is forever ruined. We can never come back here again because it will be the place that we lost Lulu. I am distraught, scared and grieving the loss of her.

While she is my daughter’s dog, she is also mine. I hike with her every day. She sleeps in my room every night. So while I was terrified that I lost her and felt responsible for my irresponsibility, I was also grieving the loss of my canine companion, I love her so much that my children are jealous of my love for her and call her my “favorite child.” Needless to say, I was a MESS!

So while I am running around crying in my slippers, I fall. I trip over an uneven part of the pathway and am brought down hard into a prone position. Directly onto my hands and knees in one movement. I am prostrate. And instantly, I am surrendered...for a minute. I am not hurt nor do I have time to be embarrassed so I get up and begin calling and running again. But a new thought was planted in my mind as I fell...”There is nothing you can do, if she is gone.”

I did my best willing things to be different. But in my heart I knew that if she was in fact gone, she was in fact gone. If it was her time to be disappeared or dead, there was nothing I could do about it. And I did something weird. I accepted it. I just took that thought in. Her time...not on my timetable.

My run slowed to a walk and I stopped calling her name. I felt a calmness and a nearness of peace. I knew that my daughter found her. It was, in fact, not Lulu's day. So I altered my course and turned back to our room. The Gardners pointed me in the direction my daughter went...with the dog.

We were all reunited, the dog no worse for the wear. My daughter happy for the being reunited. My dog now knowing things about the rose garden and vineyard that I will never know.

How did it come to me while in full panic mode that it was ok. I could stop my ridiculous flailing and calm down?

Something happened when I was surrendered to my knees. I was reminded that I am not in charge, not even of my dog. She has her own life, her own fate and her own needs and wants. They often do not align with mine. In the end, I am powerless, I am unable to change the course of her life no matter how much I want to.

After the crisis was over, I sat out back by the fire on the patio. Drinking some tea and trying desperately to get my nervous system back to some sort of normal feeling. I cried a little while longer and took in the coming day. As I was sitting there, a very large hawk came almost crashing into the tree just behind me. He came in hard and fast and overshot his branch. He quickly altered course and landed on the other side of the tree, on a branch that was not the one he intended.

The hawk cried out loudly, letting all who were near know of his frustration and ire. He sat there for a long time, regrouping, just like me. It occurred to me that perhaps this was an omen. The hawk's arrival perhaps meant something more than being coincidental. I googled it and here is what I found...


A hawk flying symbolizes freedom. It is a divine messenger. Seeing a hawk means you are protected. Seeing hawks all the time means you are getting a flow of ideas like a hawk does while it is flying on the wind.

I see hawks all the time. On electrical poles as I drive the freeway. On hikes in their living rooms. I see them on beautiful hotel grounds while crying about the near miss I just had with my dog. Hawks appear to me all the time.

I found it odd though that they represent freedom. Something that I have craved and prized and grasped for all my life. Always wanting freedom. To be alone, to be able to do what I want. But on this morning, this day, I did not want freedom. I wanted to be shackled to the beings I love. I did not want to be liberated from being owned by my dog...or daughter. I wanted to be present and loved and held and committed - not free.

But the hawk omen also represented protection. Freedom AND protection. And perhaps that is something that I needed today. Some inkling that one can have both freedom to be and protection from. Could that be possible? Could one be free and protected? For me, I think, freedom was the only place that I found protection....

It was a new idea that one could have both. I could be free and safe at the same time. That I didn’t have to seek one to get the other. That perhaps they both exist at the same time, in the same life.

My dog took off yesterday, engaging her freedom that is so often missing in her life but she was protected from harm. She returned to us, well, tired but invigorated from her jaunt.

This thought literally dogged me all day. Was there a message there for me? Can I be free and protected at the same time? Can I go forth into relationships sharing from the depths of my soul, being free to be me, really me and still be protected and cared for?

Seems like I got my answer yesterday...

Thank you universe, I am listening. Even when the start is hard.

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