I love my wonderful morning walks with Aimee, the most adorable puppy on the planet. We go to a 34 acre park near-by and roam the hills. There is sacred and healing energy in that park. I can feel it and I can see it. One time a few years ago, while standing at the top of a hill, looking down over the acres of lush green expanse, I saw the universe radiate with light. The colours were brilliant. I “saw” my life in a moment. I had a sweet feeling of peace. But most of all I felt compassion – for me. I “heard”, “You have done well.” I hold that memory in my heart. It feels precious to me. I feel blessed every time I think of that moment, brief as it was.
This park is a haven for wild-life: Huge black crows who loudly and urgently share their noisy sense of doom. Rabbits skitter into the bushes. Aimee chases squirrels up trees. We pass areas that smell of skunk, lively little foxes hurry by looking for a meal. Majestic hawks float overhead and call attention to the blueberry sky. Last summer, Aimee and I were awed to have interrupted three deer as they quietly nibbled grass on the side of the hill, then loped over the wooded hills to some place near we hoped was safe for them.
This morning Aimee and I saw a coyote. I have seen her before and I suspect she has pups. Thus far, none have shown themselves. Today Aimee decided to try to befriend Mama Coyote. Mama was close enough for me to see her soulful eyes and feel her quiet, shy presence. Initially, Aimee clearly hoped for a friend, but for some instinctual reason, this little bitty puppy began to growl at this lovely, soft brown, almost tamed mother coyote. I scooped Aimee up and leashed her. We walked away.
Something about these few short moments opened my mind and heart to my friend in the Iranian prison. And to his captors.
I am sure my friend feels small, vulnerable and powerless. I don’t know if he has tried to growl back. But my fears for him would be quite similar to my fears for Aimee: both are too little for the job and it would be unlikely either would survive a violent encounter.
What about his captors? If we could look deeply into their eyes, as mama coyote allowed me to do this morning, would we find any softness? Can they be tamed? Or have they been in the wild too long with no one to bring gentleness into their lives? I doubt I would be brave enough to growl, like Aimee did. She is fearless sometimes. I am never fearless. Someone very wise once told me that we all actually have only two emotions: love or fear. If I can’t love his captors, I will fear them. If I fear them, or more to the point, if Hamid fears them, his soul withers. He needs our love to help him survive. We are the holders and the containers of hope. Hope for the world to know more about love, and less about fear.
Hamid and I have since had a few walks with Aimee and he has shared some of his prison experience. Together we breathed in the cool spring air and talked of love and forgiveness. We shared our mutual relief when surrounded by the aliveness and contentment we feel all around and inside our heart while walking freely through the peaceful welcoming cemetery Aimee and I so embrace. We talked about honouring all living beings and being surprised and satisfied when we find ourselves standing up to adversity with pride and courage. We laughed as a little red fox trotted down the narrow road toward us and we saluted the noisy black crows as they tried to stir up the quiet we were enjoying.