Lil Orphan Hammies and Sedgwick Reserve
By Alexandra Glaser (06/08/09 13:39:03)
Related animals: Bat, Pot-Bellied Pig

I would like to take the time now to reflect upon the various trips we took together as a class in an attempt to collaborate with animals.

Lil Orphan Hammies: Pot Bellied Pigs

After getting lost (a first of what would become a ritual for any pre-trip drive), we arrived at Lil Orphan Hammies in Solvang. I was blown away by the sheer amount of pigs that were at this farm/home. I was blown even more away by the amount of pig paraphernalia the owner had in her home! Regardless, the pigs were fascinating creatures. They were massive! I was amazed at the owner's ability to distinguish each individual pig out of 98 in total. I found that more than anything, I was interested in learning the owners story and how she came into possession of so many pigs. I realize in hindsight that my attempt to collaborate with the animals was limited. Although I enjoyed petting and scratching their ears, I did not do anything with aesthetic intentions in mind. Perhaps because this was our first excursion, I had not yet gotten into the mindset of collaboration and perhaps I was still unsure of what I was in store for. I did not yet know how to approach animals in a different manner than how I had always done. Thus, although this trip was enjoyable, my aesthetic outcome was minimal.

Sedgwick Reserve

What a great trip. I had not been able to go to Santa Cruz Island (although I did get a chance to go the next weekend with some friends!) so this was my first overnight immersion. We began the trip with a hike up a hillside and after getting the burrs out of my shoes, socks and jeans, Hannah led us in a meditation to center ourselves. Finding out own center would hopefully lead us into being open to communication with animals (something that we had learned from the animal communicator and various texts). Although no animals ran right up to our group, finding my center in such a beautiful context prepared me for the rest of the trip and opened up my channels for subsequent collaboration.

For me the most successful and memorable experience from the trip came late at night, after dinner and after many had fallen asleep. A group of us stayed awake by the fireside and after much deliberation decided that what we really needed was a night hike. Under the full moon, the canyon behind the ranch was illuminated and seemed otherworldly. Just as we walked past a small pond, a wave of rustling came back to us. We paused and unconsciously we began to communicate with the mystery swarm of animals (which i believe now to be either bats or birds). Whatever it was that we did to communicate with them (whether it be walking or scuffling), they communicated back, on cue with a mass of movement. A true interspecies collaboration was established.

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