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Winter’s lethal touch seems not to disquiet this gray squirrel, seen digging in my back yard, presumably for seeds hidden during warmer climes.

Other eyes, from centuries past, have drawn inspiration from the squirrel’s activities: the Osage Native Americans who roamed these hills. Their surroundings offered food, aplenty, but had to be hunted, cultivated, harvested, preserved, and hidden away from poachers, other Indians or settlers. Survival from fickle weather, for both Indians and animals, was the communal goal.

The Osage perceived all living creatures as gifts from Mother Earth with whom they were inextricably bound. Squirrels were notable for their preparedness, sociableness, industry, and foraging for seeds and nuts, their presence by aggressive and noisome chatter. Identifying with their spirit quickened their own in the midst of daily hardship. 

Even in dire straits, the Osage were reluctant to feed off the squirrel, but did so if critical for survival, with thanksgiving to Mother Earth.

In my perception, the Osage’s proximity to squirrels and all living creatures interfaced with their imaginative story-telling; its rich oral tradition afforded ultimate meaning to their lives. From these depths emerged their legends and sacred rituals; images of squirrels on totem poles.

They knew who protected and guided them.

It is cold—very cold—and it’s just beginning.

Somehow that matters little in my warm study when enveloped within Winter Dreams, the subtitle of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 in G minor (1866) played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Yuri Temirkanov. The first movement, fragile and effervescent, evokes inchoate scenes of what wasn’t there before: 

Moonlit snow-scapes—wind-startled frozen lakes—flocked mountain pines—brush-filled meadows—gust-sculpted cathedrals—critter-tracks meandering over hills—color-splashes angling down slopes and crisscrossing paths.

Beneath this frozen world, deep smiles thaw my imagination; trickles of water create wiggle-room for my breathing. Like the first morning of creation, Beauty still evokes deep joy and zest for living.

Listening to Winter Dreams plunges us within its critical cycle of brilliance. Color’s own brilliance will return, in time.

At 4:00 A. M., I awoke with this supportive dream:

It was suppertime, Paris, France. I walked into a restaurant and recognized a fellow traveler from last year’s tour seated at a table near the entrance. I greeted him, but was unprepared for his enthusiastic response; he had been only an acquaintance. To my surprise, more tourists from that group also entered the restaurant and swelled the camaraderie among us. My new friends filled the lonely fissures in my heart. I felt whole.

My psyche gladdened me with this glimpse of camaraderie: a conjoining of male and female energies, an enlivening that contrasts with my waning physical energies.

The time of the dream, suppertime, alludes to the end of day/time, my present circumstances. The image of Paris, France suggests the Sacred Feminine, the former hub of Christianity with its multiple soaring cathedrals, many of which I’ve visited.

The fellow traveler, in Jungian terms, is a positive Animus figure: the Sacred in the disguise of my new friend. A slow trickle of male/female couples pull up chairs to the table and joins us, more evidence of the Sacred. Still the trekker, I welcome each day’s new sightings from my psyche

This dream supports the loneliness of my individuation, in process for decades. Never am I alone, existentially, and for that I’m grateful.

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