some people feel a strong connection to loved ones who have left this life. they dream about the loved one, they may feel messages coming through subconsciously, or they may sense their loved one's presence, either just surrounding them, or in some element of the natural world or some other living being.
I'm reading a book set in China during the cultural revolution of the mid twentieth century, in which a chicken wanders into a Chinese widow's home, immediately convincing the woman that it is really her husband, returning to her. she grooms the chicken, cares for it, engages in conversation with it, and is devastated when it disappears (and unbeknownst to her, gratefully, ends up in someone else's cooking pot).
my son jake died three months before his 19th birthday. on his birthday that year, a reasonably warm and wintry april 20th, I rode my bike up emigration, down to the reservoir, around the locked yellow gate and up toward big mountain as far as the road would allow. snow hunched deep and heavy in the shaded stretches as the elevation increased, and I was finally thwarted about halfway to the top. I paused and had a chat with his spirit, spread a few of his ashes, and created a new touchstone, a place of memory and meaning, by the side of the road and the spread of the hill.
on my way home from that ride I saw a moose, and immediately I thought of little joe, jake's twin.
I do not know why.
I sensed a message as well, one of comfort and confirmation, letting me know that it was okay to feel alone as I did, that those feelings were part of the natural rhythm of existence, and that they were truly nothing more than an illusion, anyway.
but now, when I see a moose anywhere within that area, I connect it with little joe and a message from what is most easily called the other side of the veil.
perhaps I make up these messages, or perhaps they are placed within my awareness only through a divine will.
I can't know.
yesterday, little joe visited again, strutting right in front of me, big and bold and fully in his young manhood. I had just left the top of emigration, heading down and toward home, when I rounded the second curve and saw a huge beast walking across the road. I braked 60 feet away, and the distance kept closing as he moved regally across the asphalt toward the hill on the right. at 30 feet he paused, and I decided I would be best off to simply stop, as he had to be a good 8 times bigger than me.
not a car around, not even another cyclist, it was just the two of us sharing this space.
I crept a little closer as he turned his head from side to side and then back to the hill in front of him and began his plodding, head thrusting climb up the hill. bushes bent for him, the ground held firm under his majestic hooves. his antlers were slender and spiky and rounded, and his entire body shouted power, ownership, possession. as he moved up the hillside I started to lose sight of him; he paused again near the top and I saw him through a screen of tall golden grass and shrub, then lost him over the ridge.
the grin didn't leave my face for ten miles, and still hasn't left my heart.
was it little joe? it doesn't matter. it's always little joe to me, and the message is always one of peace and certainty. of faith and patience. of being on the right track, of perseverance, of moving along, pausing, and moving along again.