My parents send me spiritual messengers in the form of birds – sparrows from Mommy as encouragement and reassurance, pigeons from Daddy as reminders of kindness and generosity, swans as signs of good fortune coming my way and so on. Over the past four years I have leaned to understand these signs and welcome them with a smile, always with the realisation that I am never alone.
But who sends me foxes and goats? Well today I decided that they are messengers from a force far more powerful than my parents, and I might even venture to give it a name. The first goat I met on Tuesday evening, as I trudged wearily home, my emotions all shattered and thoughts scattered across the universe. I was so engrossed in my own little world worrying about a million things that the quintessential beauty of my surroundings faded away. I almost jumped out of my skin when a deep gruff bellowing resounded from behind the bushes. I am so used to just passing the silent water buffalos from afar that I didn’t count on anything at such close proximity. Coming out of my dazed reverie I looked around and saw a pair of curious eyes staring out at me, and I even allowed myself to interpret a frown.
It was a handsome ram, with the most elegant curled horns that crowned his impatient head. He was actually rather offended that I had dared to walk past him without as much as a hello or an offering. So I doubled back, marched right up to him and stared his squarely in his crossed eyes as I smiled and greeted him. Naturally, I apologized for the oversight and asked how his day was going, and I told him what was on my mind. I could have sworn he nodded in sympathy or understanding!
If any human had seen me at that moment, I would have committed to the loony bin immediately. In any case, my goat cooing worked and after a few minutes my new friend was pacified and I felt strangely relieved. It was almost like speaking to a confessor, opening up the deepest vaults of my heart and setting certain things free.
This morning, as I marched towards the bus stop, contemplating the mysterious beauty of the hovering fog, I saw a beautiful raven screech angrily as it landed clumsily on a small tree. I was about ask him what all the fuss was about when out pranced a fox, grinning slyly as he zeroed in on the raven. Both glanced over at me briefly and continued their discussion. The sighting a fox in these parts is not rare, and neither is that of a raven, but seeing them together was definitely something unique.
What do I take from these symbols and messengers?
An affirmation of the changes taking place in my life.
The goat: trust your footing regardless of the terrain,
The Raven: dare to be different, don’t fear the heights or be intimidated by the unfamiliar.
And the fox? Try anything with friendliness first!
On the way home this evening I met the usual buffalos from afar, and finally understood that the goats and the raven were trying to tell me. I came to Berlin three years ago to fall apart, to allow my life to be painfully disassembled by destiny, piece by piece, and to learn how to stand on my own. I chose Berlin, a city I have never liked, but wanted to give it a second chance, just to prove to myself that I could make it on my own in this town. In return, Berlin taught me how to pull myself back together, and yesterday, I got that seal of approval.
I passed the test.