The Animals at Midwinter

Many traditions tell stories about how, in the deep of MidWinter, if we listen closely, we can hear the animals talking.

As a child, when I heard about this, I believed, hoping against hope, they would say something special to me — just me. Ah, the self-centeredness of childhood and the deep trusting faith. I believed, because I wanted to, that there was only one special night when they would call our names, rather than there being only one special night when we would deign to listen.

You know what? Many years later, I still believe and I still listen, but no longer as naively. Now I understand that it was never a case of listening with my ears. Instead, we are invited to listen with our hearts and deep in our souls. Rather than yearning for our own secret messages, let us now, all together, listen for the animals’ universal Wisdom! The truth is, they spoke then and they are speaking still. 

Their Wisdom harmonizes with the Wisdom of the Trees in the sweet Silence of the Woodland. A soaring descant offered by the Beauty of the Stars and the Dancing Northern Lights lifts and inspires us. The droning heartbeat of the rocks and earth is so slow and quiet as to be almost imperceptible even to our hearts. Yet, when we allow ourselves to feel its rhythmic beat, it steadies us.

This is all Beauty and the Beauty is profound. We can easily become enraptured. Still, we must listen even more deeply. The Great Balance between Humans and the Earth has become unsettled. We have damaged our reciprocal relationship with our greed and lack of understanding. We have a part to play here. We can add our voices to the harmony, holding steady against the disharmony. 

In conversation as in music, dissonance seeks to resolve. The invitation to resolution is difficult to resist. So too, the invitation to Peace. Peace is harmonious balance. In Peace, Nature thrives. In Peace, animals thrive. In Peace, we thrive.

How willing are you to listen with your heart and soul for the animals at Midwinter? How eager are you to turn your attention to the Silence of the snow, the Beauty of the forest, and the Grandeur of the skies? How ready are you to be calmed and moved by the steady beat of Nature’s Heart? Imagine, what might arise in our hearts and souls and the many ways we might be moved. 

Oh, welcome this season of the Dark and the Cold! The animals and all of Nature have lessons to teach us of harmony. Together, let us learn what they teach us of Peace. Together let us live in Peace.

Salaam, Shalom, Peace. Blessed be.

PS: While I was in the midst of writing this blog, I took a minute of distraction to check my email. “When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but” this inspiration of the day quote from This Nonviolent Life. While not about animals, it speaks to the grandeur and wonder of this world. May you enjoy it as much as I have.

“Sometimes I come across a tree which seems like Buddha or Jesus: loving, compassionate, still, unambitious, enlightened, in eternal meditation, giving pleasure to a pilgrim, shade to a cow, berries to a bird, beauty to its surroundings, health to its neighbors, branches for the fire, leaves for the soil, asking nothing in return, in total harmony with the wind and the rain. How much can I learn from a tree?” 

—Satish Kumar