Thursday, April 14, 2011

Carnival of the Animals

"Lots of people talk to animals.... Not very many listen, though.... That's the problem."
- Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

I can be so oblivious. Really, it takes no effort at all for me to completely miss signals, signs, and messages sent to me. Sometimes the universe just has to scream, "Would you please stop for a minute and listen?"

Well, yesterday, the universe screamed. On my walk, I encountered many more animals than I usually do...

Brother Heron was there, along with two Canada Geese. The heron allowed me to get very very close to him

...almost sharing a bench with me. His friend, the goose, looked very swanlike as he glided toward me. He seemed very proud of himself.

Suddenly, two other animals appeared and frightened everyone away...

 They found it quite fun to terrorize the poor birds...I don't blame the dog, though.

I returned to my walk, and ran into a lovely young lady named Sarah, who was only too proud to introduce me to her friend, Scout...

and show me what a clever friend he is.

And of course there were lots of the usual two and four-legged animals..

I had lunch with my friends yesterday at the amazingly wonderful Chocolate Cafe and Coffee House in O'Fallon. It was a perfectly wonderful afternoon, and we ate our salads and sandwiches and Java Mocha Chocolate Chip Gooey Butter Cake (what a mouthful...literally and figuratively!) al fresco. As we finished our delights, guess who we saw? Brother Heron, who flew directly over our astonished heads!

I returned home just before Little Scholar got off the school bus. I fixed him a peanut butter and banana sandwich as he told me about his day. He became quite animated as he told me about the exciting "listening game" his music teacher had played. The teacher had played excerpts of music and the children were asked to name what animal might be described by it. "Yia-Yia," he said, "Do you know that a clarinet can sound just like a cuckoo bird?"

I stopped slicing bananas and asked, "Was there a rooster and fish and a donkey in the music, too?"

"Yes!" he replied.  "It's all about the animals!"

"Carnival of the Animals?" I asked. "By Camille Saint-Saëns?"

"That's it!" said the Little Scholar, whereupon we went back to the afternoon rush of activities.

Last night, it came to my attention (thanks to a very kind and patient friend who spends a lot of time explaining the obvious to me) that I have animal spirit guides who have been trying to speak to me.  Duh. As I said, I can be really oblivious.. Oh yeah, it's all about the animals.

I will pay more attention now to both of the animals who have been trying to reach out to me; the small white lamb who has appeared to me in meditations recently, and the graceful heron, who has befriended me since my mother's passing.

Sometimes, we are perceptive enough to pick up these messages on our own. Sometimes, it takes a village...or in my case, a carnival.

I hope you pick up your messages today. ♥

Of course, the music selection today is from "Le Carnaval des Animaux (The Carnival of the Animals)" by Camille Saint-Saëns. It is a musical suite of fourteen movements composed in 1886. The composer thought it to be of little significance at the time, and allowed only one movement to be published in his lifetime. The others were published posthumously, and the work is widely known through many pieces in pop culture today.

This selection is called 'Le Cygne (The Swan)', and is the one movement that Saint-Saëns deemed worthy of serious consideration.

Usually performed as a piece for cello and piano, YoYo Ma would be the natural go-to guy for this work, but alas, I cannot post his masterful performance posted on YouTube. Not very sharing of him, is it?

Second place (of course, I'm always looking for the live performance videos to share with you, as opposed to the music recordings + photos) goes to this one by renowned cellist Misha Quint and pianist Svetlana Gorokovich.  Enjoy. 

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