To See and Be Seen

Growing up in a city like Oakland as I did, I didn't have the opportunity to be around a lot of animals growing up,  as I've been fortunate to be able to as an adult, but every time I got a chance to be around animals and birds, from the earliest of ages, I truly was in heaven...

I was in serious heaven one time as a kid when my Grandpa, knowing how much I loved and shared a special connection with animals, took me to ride a horse at a place outside of Chicago near where he and my Grandma lived, when my family was out visiting them.  He even bought me and surprised me with little cowboy boots which I wore for the ride, and which I then wore all the time after that until they were too small. I still have them in a box of special things. I seriously looked like Little Miss Sunshine with them on.  When that movie came out, Mr. Livings and I watched it, and afterwards Mr. Livings said to me, "I think that movie should have been called Little Miss Livings."

Anyway, it wasn't until I lived up in the Pacific Northwest in the Seattle area in my late teens and early twenties that I, and all my friends, started to notice a certain way I had with animals and birds, and most of all with horses. One time, when I lived up north, I was standing on a road and a horse came right up to me, and just stared at me, looking deep into my eyes for minutes, refusing to let its owner lead it away.  This happened with a police horse in downtown Seattle at Christmastime too. A police horse, led by an officer, veered off course the second he or she saw me, and came right up to me. A friend of mine took a picture that I still have of this horse and I just staring into each other's eyes on a busy Seattle street sparkling with holiday lights as the police officer looked bewildered at his horse that all of a sudden simply would not listen to him.  In Vermont, this happened often too. And every time a horse would pass in Vermont, it would stare at me for as long as it could, and as it was led from me and walked further away from me its neck would be craned backward, staring back for as long as it could see me, and I would look right back. Mr. Livings and my friends have always said I'm a horse whisperer. I don't know about that - it is nothing that I do...

But I do feel so truly honored that so many horse friends of mine (and other animal friends too) come running the second they see me. I am always so happy to see them too. Here is a picture of one of my horse friends who always comes running the second she sees me:

...and also a picture of me with another friend too...

My friends know that I see them. And they know that I know that they see me too. Truly wondrous things happen when you know that you are seen...and see another true...and they know that they are seen...and they see YOU too. Truly see you. It is a rare thing...to be truly, truly seen. Any time it happens with another person or any other being, it truly is a gift.  It really is...Like the special connection I had with my dear friend Jim who was a fish...and with dear sweet Brown, pictured below with me, who was a wild bird and one of the great loves of my life...one of the most profound connections I have ever had with another being, apart from with Mr. Livings, and certain family members and friends, and sweet Jim. Each of them could see me, and they knew that I truly saw them.

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So a few days ago, when we were at the estate sale, there was a box of old photographs, and I came across this old photograph of this woman on a horse, and knew I had to have it.

...that perhaps I was looking at another being in another time who also connected deeply with other beings and other lives...Who could perhaps truly and deeply with other beings be...and see...and connect...

These connections, to me, are some of the most profound and special moments of my life. To see and be seen. To see and with other beings so deeply be...To connect...

It is a gift.