Gardening By Lions (untangling identities)


Eleven animals euthanized, the paper reads.  Four years ago we nearly moved into a house in the same county owned by a couple that also owned an animal sanctuary.  Recently they had asked the county if they could move into that home with their eleven lions, tigers, bears, and wolves as there was prolific flooding on the plain they resided on.  Well half of the folks out there say that Peter and Joanie didn’t want to bring the new space up to code and the other say the commissioners did not want to bring animals into a more populated area.  Somewhere in the middle sleeps the truth.


Just a few weeks ago I was thinking about Peter and his lovely sanctuary and remembered the time we visited him there.  We were developing an arthritis medicine for his wolves.  He took us on an amazing tour of the space and introduced us to all of those storybook animals.  They knew and loved him and it was a glorious warm, early spring day.  A memory watercolored in my mind.  Peter pointed to a large area next to the lion’s cage and offered it to me to garden.  Gardening next to the lions all summer!  Can you imagine?  To work to the sound of the lion’s yawn, or roar, to listen to the wolves howl and the bears play.  To bring a thermos of coffee and sit and write in the company of these creatures while looking out over the vast trees and red brushed plains.  What an experience that would have been.

Yes, would have been.  That year I was so caught up in becoming a real farmer that I focused solely on growing enough produce on my little spot of rented land that I had no time for whimsical gardens.  I didn’t want to drive twenty-five minutes each way to garden!  I was a farmer, I needed to be serious.

How many times have our self given identities prevented us from experiencing other great aspects of life?  Being so caught up in my Farmgirl identity made me turn down an opportunity that will never be offered again.  How can we learn to separate our work and our life from our entanglements of identities so that we can be open to opportunity and memories?

Throughout my adult life I have been a professional model, a vet tech, an exotic dancer, a crafter, a mom, an owner of a hip hop dance company, an herbalist, a farmer, a medicine woman, a grandma, a writer.

And medicine women don’t drink wine….