Tag Archives: nature

Shiva, The Eagle and I


Shiva, The Eagle and I
by Justine Mara Andersen

Sister eagle as you fly,
I hear the wind in your wings,
As though they are mine,
For are they not?

Mother rain as you fall,
I breathe in your rising mist,
And take it all in me,
As I rise and fall.

Hunter hawk of my woods,
I come to join you,
Together we stand,
And you allow it.

And wild turkeys beyond,
Still as the mighty hawk,
Steady is our stance,
We four are one.

White skull of the deer,
Mounted above my window,
Eagle, hawk, turkey and I
Will be bone too.

Lord Shiva in my eyes,
Show me that bones and ash,
Are nothing but rain,
For we are all as you.

Om Shivoham.

Om Shivoham.

Om Shivoham.

2 Anoles & Me…


Yesterday was a good day, in Hindu terms… an auspicious one, but probably the most beautiful and unlikely moments happened when I went out on the lake in the kayak.

Now before you read on you might want to be warned… there is a hedonistic and sensual aspect to this little adventure that I am not going to tame or shy away from, so if you’re not up to that… move on to another blog entry.

The lake was glassy, the sun just hot enough to remind me why I don’t live in Ohio anymore. I mean, here it was the week before Christmas and I was barefoot in shorts and going out on Lake Newnan to sunbathe and nap in the boat. This activity has become a sort of simple salvation for me, something I need almost more than anything–though up until I had the lake and kayaks, I had no idea how much I needed this, but for the several months when I did not have it (thanks to the floating islands blocking all routes to open water) I suffered. I can let go of things on the lake much more easily than I can anywhere else. I don’t even have to try or meditate on them… I simply feel them going.

Dipping my bejeweled toes in the water, I embraced the chill, then the mud as I sank my feet into it. This is always an amazing moment for me, that moment when I get to step into the water, that moment when I know what lies ahead of me… peace, quiet, wildlife, and the big open sky. After I settled into the kayak and started to drift away from shore I noticed a little anole on the front end of the kayak. I tried to paddle up close to the plants so she could get off and back on dry land, but the anole just looked overboard with some trepidation, so I tried a better patch right up against the shore, she still just stood there looking out, not even hesitant, and I realized she was probably no more eager to get off the boat than I was. She made her way to the front of the boat and hung out on that handle… sticking right out over the water, what an enviable perch. Good enough, I shrugged, I guess she’s getting a little boat ride today, and off I paddled.

I was along on my way to my favorite little isolated cove, a fairly large stretch of water made private by an immense floating island. Between the island and the shore is a lovely stretch of water that I’ve rarely ever seen people in. About halfway there, having that beautiful certainty that today I was alone on the lake, I pulled my top off over my head and began to unlatch my bra. When my bra fell away from my breasts I caught a shiver of pleasure, an embrace of the lake, of freedom, of the warm December air. It was the sort of sensation I live for, the sort of sensation I think back on in private moments… alone… in my room.

On we went, me in my shorts and gypsy bells and bangles, my anole buddy quite content on her perch. With caution I slipped through the pass into my cove, wary that I had once seen a fisherman there, so I checked before I paddled out too far. Confident that he was not there, I paddled out into the open water between the shore and the floating island, and took it all in. I took in how I felt, how my skin felt, how the air felt on my skin, and how it felt to be where I feel most comfortable. I never feel entirely comfortable around other people, for some reason I always feel far more at home among the eagles, herons, cranes and alligators. I prefer their noises over ours, I prefer their rhythms over ours, I prefer their company over that of most other humans. Simply put, I was completely at home, and wholly at peace.

As was my plan, I scooched down into the hammock-like kayak, breasts to the sun, and listened. I love being surrounded by the birds, the variety of calls and cries is something that baptizes me, that washes away my sins. The eagles were out, and the cranes were perching high atop the trees lining the shore. It was breathtaking. It was so primal, so unfiltered, so utterly unspoiled by our constructs.

I had been feeling a little sick, as if I had been fighting off a little something, or perhaps it was just a sinus reaction to the ups and downs of the weather, whatever it was, I had decided to ignore it and slip as deeply into hedonism and peace as I could manage. I dipped my hand in the lake and sprinkled water across my breasts and nipples, and I focused on that sensation alone; though let in the calls of the birds. I meditatively followed one single droplet as it ran a rivulet down my breast and along my ribs… slowly. And with each inch it rolled I felt all my aches and pains disappearing. My physical world became the water dripping along my ribs, the sun on my breasts, and the caress being alive on my bare legs and ever-bare feet. Those aches and pains remained washed away for the rest of the day and night, like some minor miracle; the water, like the tickling fingers of a healer. These feelings of perfect sensual-world kisses had always been elusive, but ever since my vision of Shiva I have been able to do the impossible. I have been able to hold onto these perfect high and magical moments, turning those sensual kisses into invigorating embraces, whereas before when I tried to hold on they would instantly slip away like sand between my fingers. When Shiva came to me, One of the lasting and unexpected side-effects was that I can now focus on and hold onto bliss! It is one bit of magic I know how to work, thank you Lord Shiva!

Like that I remained, ever so content, eyes closed. I’ve had some of my best sleep and meditation on the lake, on that boat and in that cove. This moment was perfection. When I stirred, I looked up, taking care of my anole, and found her wandering around the boat, close to my feet. She was exploring and as content as I was. She looked fearlessly over the side of the kayak, and I swear I saw wonder in her eyes. And if it wasn’t wonder I saw, what I did see was that she too was at peace, her whole body revealed it.

Then it came, after a good long rest, noise. A reminder. The rowing club was in full force, launching teams of boats into the water, the clamor of motor boats and, for Christ’s sake, megaphones! Then, worse, the sounds of athletes and coaches barking out the gutted tribal cliches and calls athletes and coaches cry out, and I realized just how deeply out of step with them I was. Those teams, those coaches, those competitors, organizers, constructs… and so on, were not in the same rhythm as I. I was with the rhythm of the water, the birds, that silence particular to nature. I had to get dressed and go home… the peace had been shattered; less shattered, more ground to a halt with the smells and sounds of gas engines and Nike slogans.

But as I started to work my way out of my private oasis, invaded only by the sounds of the other people, I saw something I had never seen before… an anole struggling in the middle of the water! I checked… it was not my anole, she was still on the front of the boat. I don’t like to molest animals that are quite capable and happy, but this anole did not look as comfortable as the one on our boat. I paddled up alongside her to see if she wanted a ride. She swam clumsily right to the side of the kayak but could not get on. Satisfied that she needed a little help, I scooped her up out of the water and set her on the rear of the boat. She scrabbled along the back of the boat, skittered right up my bra… and perched there atop her silky black lookout.

This was odd, two anoles, one on each end of the boat, after never once having seen one on a boat nor in the water. I paddled us towards shore, towards home, getting dressed well before coming out into the open, and saw that our second passenger was now perched on the handle at the rear of the boat just as the first anole had done on the front. The front anole was now hunkering down as I paddled, but soon crept out to perch on the side of the boat… staring out and watching the scenery pass. These were a pair of content and calm anoles.

Once ashore the second anole hopped off the boat as quickly as possible, the other was in for the duration, she just stayed with me as I drug the kayak back to its resting place alongside the fence. She was still clutching to the kayak as I turned it upside down and walked away.

I fantasize that she will be there the next time I take that kayak out, eager to hitch another ride, eager to enjoy another wild adventure out on the water, but I know that’s absurd… isn’t it?