Sunday, November 17, 2019

Little Otters in the Lake


This morning when the whole house was fast asleep and there was just enough light to feel like it was actually morning, I dragged Freckles out of his soft, warm dog bed into the drizzle and walked down to the lake. When I got to the boat launch at the end of our street there was one car parking and a young woman got out to walk down to the shore. I noticed her because there were no other cars or people. I wondered if she'd had a long, hard night, if she was sad because someone had died, if she had a big decision to make and needed to look at the clarity of the lake to find some answers.

I let Freckles off his leash so he could wander and, just as I did, I noticed a huge splash in the lake. I looked towards the young woman to see if she'd noticed but she was in her own world, quietly staring towards the boats in the marina. I started my walk south and soon saw a pair of otters. I've been seeing a lot of otters these days and I wondered if maybe that splash had been an otter or two splashing their tails at the same time.

As I walked, I saw no fewer than nine otters, a record for me. "This is a sign," I thought to myself, and I made a mental note to look up the symbolism of river otters. Further down the path I ran into my neighbor and his standard poodle. I mentioned how many otters I'd seen that morning and he said, "Did you see the beaver?" He told me that the beavers had a dam over in Seward Park and often swam north around this time in the morning. That explained the splash. Beavers are much bigger than otters. I was so excited to learn about this presence in my favorite lake. I'd have something new to watch for on my morning walks.

When I got home from my walk I dried Freckles' paws and immediately went to research otters. Otters represents the inner child, celebrating joy in the simple things, the freedom to do what our instincts tell us to do. I love the concept of spirit animals, or totems, because they help explain the magic of the universe. Why I'd been drawn to go out into the dark, drizzly morning today made sense. It was to see all those amazing otters and the lone splashing beaver. And seeing all the otters today made me contemplate "why now?" when normally I catch a glimpse of one or two once every fourth or fifth walk.

Since selling my business, I have been trying to live in the land of simply "being." I've tried to listen to my heart's desire. When I read about otters representing the inner child, I reviewed where I've been and what I've done with my time in the last month. I've painted pictures, sewn a Christmas stocking for my dog, made a pine cone wreath, baked multiple loaves of bread and several cakes, repotted plants, and done my writing practice almost every day. I have been listening to my instincts, doing things that bring me joy. Seeing the otters this morning affirmed this path I am on and gave me a great sense of connection to the wonders of the universe.

I couldn't help but look up the symbolism for the beaver. The beaver totem represents persistence in work, an invitation to vigilantly work on a task or project until it is done. This makes sense, that I only saw the "tail end" of the beaver; only glimpsed the aftermath of it's big tail splashing. I'm not in the productivity mode to get things done and make things happen. Right now, I'm in otter-mode, connecting with my inner child and finding joy.

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