Friday, May 31, 2013

Symbolism In Black And White

Color in the garden...and black and white!

 On my Plumeria Papercraft Facebook page this week, I explained via three posts that “My Page Has Been Quiet Because…” #1 - I’ve been working on notecards for the gift shop at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula (this new account holds a great deal of personal significance as this is the hospital where our daughter was born, where I received my chemo treatments and where I continue to participate in monthly healing art retreats), #2 – I’ve also been working on notecards for American Crafts & Jewels in Carmel (grateful for my one year partnership with this lovely store) and #3 – I have enjoyed spending a lengthy amount of time each evening observing a backyard visitor (more about this current fascination in just a moment!)  These explanations obviously apply here on Paper And Ponder where it’s also been a quiet week.  Added to the mix has been the “crazy busy” gear that inevitably kicks in at the end of each school year with various commitments and activities.  Alas, time to write has been elusive this week!
I’m squeezing in this end of the week post to share more about the aforementioned backyard visitor (while humoring my husband who predicted this blog post!)  We first noticed him/her last weekend, a small youngster with a fluffy black and white tail making an appearance at dusk and foraging for insects and grubs, oblivious to us as observers.  Yes, a young skunk has taken a liking to our garden!  After a little research by my husband, we learned that skunks have poor vision and hearing, so they are typically unaware of and not intimidated by our presence.  They are generally peaceful and only spray as a last resort when provoked.  We’ve shed our apprehension and have become quite fascinated with our cute little visitor!  (We actually spotted his/her mother a couple weeks ago, and she briefly appeared again one evening this week as if she was checking on her little one.)

As I have shared in past posts, I’ve become very curious about symbolism and its relevancy in one’s life.  Symbolism, especially in examining nature, can often be an interesting, insightful tool, a springboard for self-reflection.  I consulted my copy of “Animal Speak” by Ted Andrews, a guide to animal, bird, reptile and insect symbolism.  According to Mr. Andrews, the skunk is a powerful totem that can teach us about respect and self-assurance.  A skunk confidently moves at its own pace, slowly and calmly.  It is fearless yet peaceful.  The symbolism of the skunk can provide us with opportunities to consider our self-image and improve our self-esteem.  The skunk can teach us to recognize our own qualities and abilities and to realize that we can control how people notice us and remember us by not arrogantly, but quietly asserting those qualities and abilities.  I've decided our black and white “guest” is not only providing entertainment, but also offering meaningful food for thought.  The skunk’s characteristics are certainly relevant to my own efforts to better acknowledge creative qualities and boost self-esteem.

Has an animal ever inspired you to consider its symbolism and how it applies to your life?