February 3, 2011
I am trudging across the frozen lake. Amplified by the deep silence surrounding me, the crunch and squeak of the snow under my boots can probably be heard clear to the other end of the lake. There is not even the slightest breeze. Here and there some shreds of clouds are tangled in the great pines and slender birch trees on the hills.
Like a ghost he is suddenly standing there at the edge of the forest on the bank, watching me. He is absolutely still, standing strong, his grey and white coat thick and beautiful. I stop. I am not afraid, rather, I feel humbled. I sense that I am in the presence of one greater than I—wiser, more intelligent, one who is absolutely pure in his spirit.
Time melts into nothingness. He is standing a few yards in front of me, his golden eyes searching deeply into mine. I cannot look away. I am excited. I feel honored. I feel abashed. His lip curls. Not a snarl exactly, but I read there disgust.
“Those who are weak run at the rear of the pack. Those who are weak are culled. You allow your fears to rule you. You are weak.”
I am dismayed. I know he speaks truth. I am ashamed.
“You would be ‘special’? You would run by my side; be guided and instructed by me?”
I would. I want to. I long for this.
“Only one who is willing to act from their courage is worthy to run with me.”
The curl of his lip has relaxed. His eyes search deeper into my soul.
He sends to my thoughts images of the Tiger who came to me six years ago. He sends me images of the Bear who even now seems to walk often by my side. Strong Animal Guides. Solitary animals.
“You are like them. That is why they are your Guides and Teachers. You too, are strong. You too are of a solitary nature. You too are a leader, a trail-blazer, a teacher. You have been called. It is you who hang back in fear, afraid of what it may require of you. This is weakness. This is cowardice. This is not worthy of who you are.”
I feel this truth deep within the core of my body, a deep resonance. I look into his eyes. There is wisdom there. Strength. I do not feel unloved—but there is no sympathy, no compassion of the warm and fuzzy kind. There is in his eyes a challenge.
“Be strong. Do what you were called to do. You are not weak. Do not pretend to be.”
A wave of love suddenly flows out from him and breaks upon my heart. I sense that he desires that I choose strength, that I choose the courage to run by his side. I sense that he would be saddened if instead I choose to shrink back, running only on the fringes, partially hidden, vulnerable prey.
He recalls to my mind the words of a supervisor I once had: “You have excellent leadership skills, but you don’t use them. You hold back. I need you to ‘step up to the plate’ as it were.”
I close my eyes. I fill my lungs with the sharp, clean breath of winter. I am again sitting in my living room, the fire crackling. His presence lingers.