Many beautiful gifts come along in such seemingly simple, ordinary moments. When we listen with open eyes and hearts, with curiosity and undistracted minds, there is always so much to discover and learn.
It’s evident there’s a yearning for change on our planet. Some would say it’s a necessity that we learn to cultivate new ways of living and relating that create harmony and balance. Many people are striving to learn how to make peace and share bigger love and stop all the destruction and war.
I’m reminded of an interaction I had a few summers ago. Our conversation lasted only a few minutes yet has nourished my heart and evoked explorations of creative possibilities ever since. There’s such brilliance in the natural ways of life on our planet, in the intricate relationships that so ingeniously weave a thriving web of life. If we listen, we’ll feel the rhythms of life itself and find ourselves joining up in the dance.
“It was the prairie dogs,” she smiled, looking over her lush vegetable garden. During the hot desert summer, Sofia had been concerned her plants wouldn’t survive. She didn’t own rights to the river water streaming by in the acequia, the irrigation ditch leading into her neighbors’ fields.
Looking around the land, still trying to piece together her story, I silently wrestled with the idea that somebody owned the river water. And that she couldn’t have any. And what had the prairie dogs done?
A chattering flock of chickens and two woolly sheep watched attentively as Sofia and I walked through her garden. We admired the leafy greens, the diverse shapes and colors, the various stages of the growth of the vegetables. Sofia told me how feeding her child these homegrown foods was important to her.
“It was the prairie dogs who brought the water, ” she said with delight.
Not everybody smiles when they talk about prairie dogs. There are those who go to great lengths and use horrific means to get prairie dogs off their lands. Prairie dogs like to live in large extended family groups. And prairie dogs love to dig. They are gifted architects of underground tunnels, instinctively building extensive networks of burrows for their homes. Many people don’t want these wild animals disturbing their gardens or lawns.
Yet, one summer here in the high desert, the river water flowed into the irrigation ditch which by-passed Sofia’s land. Because of the prairie dogs, the water had a new underground network of pathways to follow. The flowing water seeped into these hidden tunnels, nourishing the soils and feeding tender roots. Sofia’s garden flourished, providing food for her family and delectable feasts for the chickens, deer, goats, and rabbits too.
Precious resources, creative collaborations, and unexpected gifts come alive when we stop warring against “the bad guys,” even the little furry ones.