In May of this year, we moved to a property on a river in the Coastal Range of Oregon. We went from a fairly dense population and noisy neighbors, to acreage surrounded by national forest. Our only real neighbors here are the birds and animals that visit daily.
We've been busy remodeling a home that was a passion project of the couple who built it by hand forty years ago. Every corner of this house and the gardens that surround it, has been lovingly designed and meticulously tended. We've wondered aloud many times how two people kept up with landscaping that puts most botanical gardens to shame. The answer would come to us one night as we sat by the river.
We'd made a habit early on, of heading to the water every night after dinner. We each carried binoculars to watch the Peregrine Falcons that were nesting in the cliff face across from us. Occasionally a Bald Eagle or an Osprey would make a surprise visit, and I was hoping to see one this night when I said, "Universe, we are open to the magic of this river and forest."
I'd said this type of thing enough times to know that once the words had been spoken, we wouldn't be waiting long for something wonderful to arrive. As if on cue, we watched as a shrub left the west shore downstream and made its way across the rapids and around some boulders, before abruptly turning back to the right. We grabbed our binoculars and were thrilled to see a beaver directing the head of the shrub.
We sat mesmerized as this wild architect gathered and transported several branches, placing them carefully into a small dam we'd not noticed before. Soon it was too dark to see clearly, so we headed toward our gate to close it for the night.
As we approached the bridge, to our delight we spotted what we first thought were more beavers. In fact, these were five river otters, another animal we had no idea lived here. Two new species of neighbors in one night! The Universe not just showing up, but showing off.
When we got into the house I did what I always do when I see a new animal. I looked up their spiritual meaning. While both beaver and otter carry similar messages around caring for family, what I read about beaver really stood out to me. It talked about teaching the dynamics of teamwork and appreciating each other's talents and contributions in order to accomplish anything. They symbolize creativity, persistence, cooperation, and working hard until the job is done.
We were lucky to receive with our new home, a dozen photo albums detailing every step of the process of building it. As I read about the beaver, I couldn't help but make the connection to the folks who had created the beautiful surroundings we now lived in. They worked together to build everything from the foundation of the home, to the bridge that carries us across the river, personifying beaver energy.
Since that first night, we've now counted four beavers living in the downstream den. We named the two larger adults after the couple whose dream became ours to steward. Here's a little video of Richard and Karen heading upstream. Much love, Holly