The Voice of the Woodchuck

Last week, Tom Bolton rescued a bird in danger of being run over in traffic. He has since found out what he should do with the lost creature, and he’s done it.
According to this site,
Native and tribal peoples believe that all living things have lessons to teach us. By observing the characteristics and behaviors of our four legged and feathered relatives, we can become aware of these lessons. Many native peoples carry or wear carvings of animals or birds (fetishes) as a reminder of the wisdom, experience, understanding and medicine power of that animal or bird. These likenesses honor these teachers, as well as inspire us toward a clearer understanding of our own strengths and remind us of where we may need to concentrate more effort in our own lives.
Over the years, working with my shaman/medicine man/therapist, I accumulated several totem animals — two salmanders, a young fox, a bear, a tiny dragon the size of a dragonfly, and an osprey.
Last year, I had an encounter with a woodchuck. Really two woodchucks. I passed one dead by the side of the road, and, as I always do with roadkill, I sent a mental apology to the spirit of the creature, honoring its short life and hoping that its death was quick and painless. My thoughts stayed with the idea of woodchuck and what its spirit might teach me. And then, several yards in front of me, a very much alive woodchuck stops to watch me. Of course, I had to write a poem about this synchronicity.
A chubby woodchuck
in the middle of an empty parking lot
stops to watch me walk in circles
around a June afternoon
awash in dandelion seeds
and gently dappled sunlight.
He twitches his nose,
ambles a few more steps
sits on his haunches,
rests his paws on his full belly

2 thoughts on “The Voice of the Woodchuck

  1. I also offer prayers for roadkill! Years ago I even wrote a poem on the subject of doing so.
    As for totem animals. . . Around my left ankle is a tattoo which consists of silhouetted cats and crows in various positions. I have not done any research to determine if these are my “official” totem animals but they are creatures the facts and myths of which have long appealed to me.

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