Friday was a particularly key day here at the Forest Portal, when for the second time a sweet little one found her way into my care. You may remember Fiver the mouse last year who truly touched my life in the short time he and I had together. And just three days ago, it was Strawberry the chipmunk who carved out another place in my heart. I often find myself in a guardian and caretaker role to create sacredness and reverence around our animal brothers and sisters – and especially so for the most vulnerable ones.
While Fiver’s journey was beautiful and full circle in the natural cycles, Strawberry’s experience met with happier endings in terms of how our human hearts view things.
As you know from a recent blog post, Dave and I have been readying our garage to be organized and spiffed up. This included resurfacing the floor – quite a project Dave did himself – and involved thorough cleaning to prep it, and then filling in cracks in the cement with a thick repair epoxy that you apply, and finally refinishing with a strong epoxy paint finish to seal it nicely. Well, on Friday, he’d just finished the second half of the garage with the cement repair, which was drying, before finalizing the last round of paint. He then was inside working, while I got the feeling I should water my Garden Tower and plants outside. So, I went into the garage to look for my large two-gallon watering can I’d given to Dave to use for the cleaning process of the garage floor.
I walked in to look around, and immediately my eyes went to the left side of the garage where I saw movement. I knew right away it was a chipmunk who had gotten herself stuck in the drying cement epoxy. Dave had the garage door open to help it to dry, which he’d done the previous days of work, as well, but today a little one became extra curious with layers of messages and experiences tied into that choice.
I acted fast, as she was obviously frightened and desperately struggling to free herself, which was NOT going to happen on her own.
If I hadn’t shown up when I did I’m convinced she would have struggled to death with exhaustion and further emotional and physical torment, as her fragile body would not have been able to handle it, and nobody was going to go back in the garage for a while since it was drying.
Chipmunks are prey animals and extremely vulnerable and sensitive (like rabbits), despite their adventurous bravery. Plus, with that free-spiritedness comes a restlessness and desire for them to be free. This was not only “killing” her spirit, but would ultimately be her demise.
I acted fast, knowing I had to free her. I couldn’t do it with my hands, as that stuff was just too thick, plus I wasn’t sure how she would react to my handling her. So I found gardening gloves on the shelf and went to work very cautiously and gently removing each part of her body (mostly the right side) from the silvery goop imprisoning her. It only took a minute and once I had her free I yelled for Dave to come help me.
He had no idea what I was yelling about, but arrived in surprise to find me standing there holding a little chipmunk gingerly in my hands. I told him we needed to see if we could wash some of the stuff off somehow, so he immediately grabbed a bucket and went in to fill it with water and some Dawn we had on hand – which is the stuff they used to remove the oil on ocean wildlife during the spills. It was also the only stuff that worked best with Cosmo when I had to wash him, so we still had it on hand luckily.
I held her gently and she seemed to understand and didn’t struggle much, while Dave gently rubbed around her right eye, which we felt was most important, as she had it closed and the outside was fully covered, as well as the fur around it. We got as much as we could off while the stuff was still somewhat wet, but it was impossible to get everything, as it is super thick and already hardening, as well as we couldn’t rub her too hard. But we did free her eye so she could open it. Dave went to work on the rest of her body as much as possible and he got a decent amount (maybe 1/3 or more), but still she had a layer covering the right of her body, her back, and her legs.
She’d been moving a bit in my hands, but started to slow down and stopped moving. We decided to stop because she was likely in shock and any further torment would have been too much. It’s enough that she got stuck, but now she was being held, which prey animals don’t like.
So, I told Dave to get a box with towels for her and food. I held her nestled in a towel in my hands (I had removed the gloves now, as I wanted her to feel the closeness and warmth of my touch rather than the distant, non-organic gloves), as she went into a fetal position and gave her Reiki while I envisioned her healed and whole. He came back out and we wiped her a bit to try to dry her and then I put her in the towels so she could balance back and dry.
I didn’t realize Dave had also gotten his camera and before I knew it he took this photo of us, which caught me in my sadness.
I ended up sitting with her for an hour, as she didn’t move. She laid in the same fetal position and I knew she was traumatized by it all and at this point I was worried that it had been too much for her little heart, as her breathing was labored and nearly non-existent at times. I decided to get one of my amethyst crystals for her and put it in with her to aid her in calming down and balancing out.
I stayed with her, breathed with her, flowed fluid Cosmic light through to her to fill her body, and caressed her crown now and then. All the while my heart and eyes filled with tears that I brushed away in order to be there for HER. If she was going to pass, I didn’t want her to be alone. So I continued giving her Reiki and I told her, “I love you,” several times.
She kept hanging in there and I had the sunlight on her to keep her warm while her wet fur dried.
While this was going on Dave had called our local wildlife rescue, whom I also called for Fiver, and we called once for a dove too (who ended up being okay). They didn’t answer, but I was glad they hadn’t, as I remembered that when I told them of Fiver, they said there was nothing they could do and if I wanted to bring him in they wanted me to know that they would feed him to their rescue predator birds. I knew he would be better off living the rest of his time nurtured and in comfort and peace with me….I felt the same for this little chipmunk sweetie, whom I now knew was in my care and relied on me for knowing her choices she would want supported.
I didn’t know if she’d turn around or not, so I told Dave we should find a bigger box to keep her in while she recovered and we nursed her. So he did, and made holes in the top for air, then I gathered pine needles, pine cone, some branches, put in two towels, and we added some raw unsalted hazelnuts and pieces of apple to create a little healing sanctuary for her. I included the amethyst once again.
I placed her gently inside (you can see her on the left of the box above) and brought her indoors into my room so I could be with her, and kept the top closed and door closed so the cats didn’t know she was there, which avoided any added stress of their energy around her.
I kept checking on her, but she didn’t move much.
Just breathed, blinked her eye sometimes, and slightly moved her front fingers. I gently touched her back legs, as they had the most stuff on them, feeling worried they might petrify, and rubbed her gently on her head and back to soothe her with Reiki. But mostly left her in peace to recuperate.
Intuitively I felt she was a girl, whereas Fiver the mouse and Blueberry the baby rabbit I felt were boys. I decided to confirm all of this with my pendulum, which it did. I then immediately got that her name would be Strawberry. For one, it was a chipmunk that ate my strawberries before I netted my Garden Tower and potted plants. Two, it felt to be the perfect partnering name to my wild baby bunny, Blueberry (who just as I wrote that ran by my office). And three, she is just so sweet….like a Strawberry.
We had to leave for an evening Beethoven symphony, so I put Strawberry in a safe room with box lid closed on top of that so she wouldn’t be disturbed and I have to say that the whole time listening to the classical music I thought of her and sent her energy, anxious to go home and see how she was. We were bonded and connected now.
When we got home I found that not only had she moved, but she was up and about sitting on her back legs as these little ones do and cleaning her face with her paws. She then went off to hide/nestle comfortably in the towel under the pine needles, so I figured it was time to say goodnight and wish her sweet dreams. Her wet fur from cleaning her had dried AND she’d eaten quite a bit of the food. YAY!! This was a great sign.
I gave her more food for the night and told Dave that I felt if she continued well the next morning, that we should release her, as I could sense she would be miserable and not do well by being trapped in the box. She’s far too free-spirited and explorative – and sharing that essence myself, I knew that would not be supportive for her. I was prepared to care for her for however long she needed, but the least amount of disturbance to her nature was best, if in fact she was capable of going out on her own.
I went to bed feeling lighter and optimistic, grateful I had found her, she was doing better, and that she chose me for this journey.
The next morning I checked on her again and she’d eaten more food and had continued moving around. Her untouched/non-epoxy coated fur looked fluffy, and when I gently nudged her, she was moving all four legs and feet spritely like her chipmunk self.
True to her chipmunk self and what she symbolizes, she wasn’t going to let anything get her down. Depression isn’t part of their M.O., as they maintain positive outlooks on life always, teach us how to view things lightly, and never let the idea of failure get to them.
Strawberry seems like the perfect mascot for the Summer Solstice Gratitude Giveaway that just kicked off today with 39 committed souls.
They are also great leaders in bringing harmony and fulfillment to life, as they know how to balance dedication to work with playfulness and fun. They turn hardworking into an artform of adventure, where discovering new things is their joy and the way to make things more pleasureful in the process.
They also enjoy solitude and that’s just what Strawberry was needing. She mostly wanted to hide in the towels and I don’t blame her, as this was all quite the adventure she likely didn’t have a clue would be this tough.
I do have to say that she was the sweetest and trusted me fully, as I never handled her again with gloves after the first initial phase and she never tried to scratch, bite, or do anything to me. We had an understanding.
We decided it was time to release her so we took her box outside my sliding door on the deck. Dave gently turned the box on its side while I held everything in place so she had a soft and easy transition with the movement. Dave then taped the box in a way it provided a small opening on the left where she could come and go as she pleased, but would keep out any larger animals.
In this way, she could choose to stay or go, and had a safe and warm place with food if she so desired or found herself not feeling as well as she thought she was.
Astrid had been a part of the whole experience, and along with me, was nurturing Strawberry with energy through the day, night, and morning. And when we took her outside and placed her down, Astrid was at the door watching over it all, as you can see here.
Dave left and I stayed a bit giving her energy and told her she could go. I put lots of protection and energy all around her for when she did decide to leave, and intended the healing energy would stay with her as long as she needed. I went inside to let her be, while I worked at my desk keeping the corner of my eye on if she went. I checked about a half hour to forty five minutes later and she was still there huddled in a corner.
I went back in and immersed in things, releasing any need to see her leave, and returned about a half hour or more to check and she was gone.
Strawberry was free, and although her fur would take time for the stuff to completely go through natural cleaning, shedding, and rubbing against nature and the elements, I knew she’d be okay and have quite the story to chat about with her friends. Chipmunks are great with communication, and hence message to us our ability to be good with words, spoken or written. So, it’s no wonder I’m telling her story now, as she chirps it in my ears to give voice to her experience.
It didn’t take her long, as several hours later, when Dave completed the last step of painting the second half of the garage floor, I was called out to the garage again to get something. The second I opened the door and stepped in, what do you know?
Another chipmunk was inside exploring, and had ventured over to the side where Strawberry had gotten stuck. (A chipmunk just ran by my office, as I wrote this – too fast to check who it was). Anyway, luckily all that cement goop was dry and the paint wasn’t sticky and had already started its process so this little one didn’t fall on the same experience. As soon as he/she saw me they ran back out through the small opening Dave had left for the drying.
Strawberry hadn’t wasted any time telling the others how she got herself into the Faery Realm with Astrid and Faery T.
And that’s how Strawberry came into my life for a couple of days, and yet her presence lingers strongly in heart and here in the Forest Portal.
She won’t be hard to spot (at least until she fully gets the stuff off of her fur), so we’re keeping an eye out for sweet little Strawberry.
I took many things away from the experience – from the simple to complex.
Some of it included things just for Dave, some for me, some for Astrid and myself, and indeed for Strawberry herself. Some of it in relation to the symbolism I mentioned chipmunks embody and some of it simply messages I derived from current experiences in our lives.
There was also the collective message to me that keeps coming up in theme of how mindfulness and thinking ten steps ahead is necessary, as to the possible repercussions and far reach things can have beyond your immediate experience. Humans and nature living in harmony isn’t something most people think about, nor how everything we do affects nature’s cycles. Ideas of progress don’t take into account nature in that mix. Technology can be used in ways that enhance and work with nature, rather than completely against it. Perhaps that’s part of why I love living in the mountains and on the forest, and why I like to keep our landscape as natural as possible, so as to blend with nature rather than change it. Our house has a lawn it came with, but I let the clover and other plants and flowers the little animals love munching on, growing on it. Things like fixing/painting your garage can be dangerous, as you saw in this story and it makes me ever-more determined to be diligent in finding ways to not repeat what I, others, or our ancestors have done to Earth’s children. I always drive slow because of all of the animals that cross the street and that I’ve seen killed by recklessness. We can always do better and at any given moment, do our best.
Native Americans view chipmunks as messengers of luck and fortune – sometimes also carelessness and yet even though they don’t think before acting, they are still lucky.
I’d say that’s accurate for little Strawberry and perhaps she might be sprinkling some of her good vibes on us about something good being on its way. Chipmunks are said to grant wishes that reflect your most treasured heart’s desires. Hmmm!
She’s definitely made an impact and through her luck, she taught us to think more like a chipmunk so as to better our lives and theirs.
I also found it interesting that she may be reflecting a message for Dave, since he had done the garage work. He recently has come upon an injury likely from skiing that got aggravated through biking and is waiting on an MRI to see what the issue is. He can still hike, but any weird turns/twists of his leg/groin area causes pain. He told me how it had him very down and worried until the last day or so, as he’s very active – like a chipmunk – and not being able to get out and do the outdoor adventurous stuff he loves, puts a damper on his spirits.
I feel Strawberry was messaging him to keep his spirits up. Even though she also was incapacitated and stuck, she didn’t give up. And while she may carry that odd fur for a while, she’s still going to enjoy life and not let it get her down. A chipmunk must keep that free spiritedness nurtured, which is why I wanted to release her as soon as possible but only if I knew she could walk and was strong. So, like her, Dave too will be ok and have his legs in working order as he likes again to get skiing and biking once things resolve and go through their healing process. Perhaps he just needs some rest and recuperation like she did, and a new perspective, with some Faery dust on top.
Synchronously, the next day after she left, Dave and I went to Tahoe Meadows for a different hike than our usual, which inspired him and got his spirits high again. He found that he could do more hiking than he thought and went out again this morning on his own for an adventure.
As for me, since I mentioned shadow work with the garage metaphor recently in a blog, Strawberry felt representative of this and how quickly we can integrate healing when we bring things to light and invite things to be seen. We all have vulnerable spots and not all of them are always hidden. And with consistent work, they become easy to see.
Strawberry showing up felt symbolic of how ease has come to this process and that things aren’t hidden anymore in my life. They also aren’t things that are bigger than me, nor scary. So while chipmunks definitely remind us of quick journeys into secret passageways, tunnels and doorways, she definitely wasn’t hiding from me – nor do I hide parts of myself away from myself anymore.
She reminded me of my most vulnerable part being my heart and that it’s capacity for love is a huge gift.
She reminded me of what is most meaningful in my life at this time, which is being a voice for the vulnerable and innocent ones – especially the big spirits in little bodies – and to use my gifts merged with theirs to inspire harmony.
She reminded me that this is and always has been my gift – to work with the animals and to be a channel for their message.
She reminded me that my home is an animal sanctuary and all that live in the forest know and I’ll be called upon again and again as a Faery godmother and guardian to those in need.
And to all of that I say yes and humbly embrace the hand they offer me.
When I held Strawberry in my hands, just like with Fiver, Cosmo, Astrid, Joy, Nestor, Gaia….and all of my little ones who have been in my life, all I can feel is both the fragility and endurance of life and love that breathes in that moment and the greatest of honor and responsibility granted for me to embrace.
To have their trust means everything to me. I will never take that for granted.
Strawberry is part of the Forest Realm and I can’t help but feel her actions that day were made with wise intention for us all, including herself. I sense a part of her who has been curious looking in on Astrid and myself in our Faery portal room got the best of her. She may have acted rash, but with chipmunk luck on her side she not only got to walk away with the greatest tale to share with the other chipmunks about what it’s like on the other side of the glass, but she got to receive the love of a Faery and her Faery bunny, enjoyed a decadent feast, and has the silver and Reiki lined fur and body to prove it.
Strawberry became a legend herself, as the magick chipmunk of the Forest Portal.