Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hoots, Howls, and Hollers 06/15/2009

Education is clearly my “thing”. This in no way diminishes the importance of rehabilitation because to each individual animal that we help (and to the person who rescued it), it is hugely important. But, to impact the source of most injuries would be immense and that refers to the many mishaps caused by the human species. This is one of the themes of our educational initiative.

Education happens on many levels— for example, intellectual, social/cultural, or emotional. These are all legit and have different impacts. Today I want to address emotional learning.

Last Monday two representative from Liberty Wildlife, Jan and Joe Miller, paid a surprise visit to send off of 15 critically or terminally ill youngsters and their families who were on their way through Camp Soaring Eagle in Sedona to Connecticut to attend a week at Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Camp for compromised children. The camp offers them the opportunity to “heal through laughter” and the chance for these special kids to “just be kids” in a medically safe environment.

After the “sending off” remarks at a hotel close to the airport and just previous to their departure for camp, it was announced that there was a surprise. On cue, enter Jan and Joe with Phoenix, the golden eagle. How perfect! The kids and families filled the room with their ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ –and then, it just got better.

Joe invited the 15 campers up to sit in a semi circle around the eagle while he “educated” them about the natural history of these glorious raptors. The lesson took on another level as he regaled them with the Native American lore which recognizes the tail feathers of the golden eagle. They believe that these feathers take on the appearance of clouds. Because of this, the golden eagle is believed to be able to fly through the clouds into the spirit world to deliver messages sent from below. Passing a feather around the room, Joe explained that the feathers are often used in spiritual ceremonies. They were then invited to send their wishes, hopes, and dreams with the eagle up to the spirit world. As Phoenix opened his impressive wings and flapped them, as if on cue, wafting air through their hair and bringing smiles to their faces, it was explained to them that they had been specially blessed by the wind from the wings of an eagle.

So the eagle was there to metaphorically carry their wishes to the spirit world, to bless them with breezes from his wings and to send them on a wonderful, healing trip where they would laugh, heal and learn that they weren’t alone. Now that is an emotional learning experience at its best, and one that will last.

Unable to take the messages himself, the spirit of Phoenix soared toward the heavens buoyed by the wishes of those 15 kids and the rest of us, for a healing that lasts a lifetime.


Anonymous said...

Megan, once again your eloquent gift for writing has touched my heart. I feel as though I was in that magic golden eagle circle, blessed by an eagle, sending my hopes and prayers skyward to the clouds. Thank you.


Rosa said...

Here, here, Claudia. I still have chills ... thank you for sharing this wonderful story.