This is my first post in the Pagan Blog Project 2012. Although like most folks I’m ridiculously busy I’m hoping to keep going on this for the year – assuming I can think of something to write…
Anyway here we go – post one.
I thought long and hard about my first entry here, having looked around at a few others and been significantly daunted by the task of blogging (for the first time ever) about my inner feelings (aargh) and stuff-I-think-I-know-about-but-that-is-going-to-sound-wackadoodle-to-most-folks…. anyway you write about what you know right? so I decided to go with ‘animals’ the furry/scaly/slimy/feathery/fishy creatures we share this world with. Most pagans have an affinity with them in some way. They were here before us, undoubtably they will be here long after Man has vanished from this world.
I’ve been surrounded by animals all my life, my parents used to race greyhounds and kept the retired ones long before it was PC to do so. We were the people that everyone else gave their no hopers and might-fight dogs to knowing that they’d have a good home. There were cats that arrived unannounced – ferals that decided here was a good place to be. We had ponies, and goats, and cows..and we had wildlife. Deer wonder the hedges, for a year we had a hare who was the most beautiful creature I’d ever seen – even back then when I was about eight and knew nothing about paganism or where my wondering confused steps would eventually lead me. We had pheasants and all manner of small birds – and everything got fed. I don’t really know where this need to feed everything that walked through the gate and indicated it might be hungry came from. My Mum – the world’s biggest sucker for big eyes and a hopeful expression – put out birdseed and hay, dog food for the hedgehogs and anything else that came up for everything else, she regularly topped up random buckets of water scattered here and there on dry days. My father in his later years used to spend hours watching the wildlife that called in (in search of a meal usually) the result is that I do more or less the same. Dad is no longer here but Mum potters around and feeds the creatures each day. The pheasants come to be fed, on winter days when the frost or snow is thick on the ground we get up to twenty five of them, a muntjac brings his family each winter and every spring they all vanish. I suppose that’s a harbinger of spring for me. The wildlife slows down as it hides itself away from human sight as the serious business of reproduction and protecting the young gets underway.
I never really noticed much about how I interacted with the world until I took up my pagan path properly, it occured to me that living in the out of the way area where most of the local kids wouldn’t come because it was too far out of the way – leaving me a solitary but happy child running loose on several acres of land, with dogs, horses and wildlife as my main companions – I’d developed a ‘what you see is what you get’ attitude – I somehow never got the hang of the mind games that a lot of people play, the one upmanship, the flirting and the general manipulation of other people’s feelings through your action, foxes don’t pretend to be something just to get the attention of the local dog fox, rabbits presumably don’t whine about how much better someone else’s burrow is – that sort of thing never even occurred to me. I accept things as they are and people for who they are. I don’t know if this is a fault or a blessing to be honest. No one else I knew apart from my family would go ‘ooh!!’ about a creature they’d seen somewhere and come home and share the experience, no one else’s family skidded to a halt at the sight of something cut over on the road – just to see if it was still alive or could be helped. It seemed to me that no one else ever even acknowledged the creatures we share our lives with, let alone saying a word or two to the ones they encountered.
I grew up, left school, got a job, I must admit I was not the most sophisticated of young folk – and I know pretty darn well I’m not the most sophisticated of middle aged folk either and it honestly doesn’t worry me. I would not trade the day I saw an entire family of foxes playing, including three cubs and both parents, the moment they all stopped, looked at me, and then kept playing for any amount of fashionable clothes and the ability to use make up. I wouldn’t trade the day I encountered a hare in the moonlight who ran accross the road, stopped, turned back and sat on her hind legs to stare at me for all the popularity in the world. Nor would I trade all the million and one other encounters I’ve had for anything. I prefer my solitary life and my interactions with wildlife. I’ve learned so much about my own life through observation and I thank the God and Goddess that I was born into a family that although they didn’t call themselves Pagan certainly gave their girl the chance to grow up with the wonders of nature and respect for the creatures of the world – to truly claim ‘kinship’ with them, albeit in a sort of ‘feed what needs feeding, rescue what needs rescuing and leave everything else well alone way.