I have had mystical experiences throughout my life. It is only recently, in the past decade, that I have embraced them without reservation and only very recently, in the past year or so, that I have written about them and shared them publicly.
Lemur was special. Over the years I have given home to over fifty cats but Lemur stood out as unusually beautiful, intelligent and charming.
He was extra large, weighing in at almost twenty pounds and pure white with that tail that gave him his name. Standing straight as a stick into the air, his tail was grey with black rings looking every bit like a lemur’s.
I don’t know his lineage or early history…just that he showed up in the urban neighborhood of my friend Paul and worked the ‘hood getting attention and food from several families.
The day Paul was moving across town he discovered Lemur had crawled into his open car as he made trips back and forth to the house. Paul got the message that Lemur wanted to go with him and that day he became Paul’s cat and best friend. Paul often talked about the antics and idiosyncrasies of Lemur as I sat across from him admiring the framed photo of Lemur on his desk.
After Paul died, at the too early age of fifty, I was standing with his four sisters at the funeral home. I asked which of them was taking Lemur. Eva looked at me with a degree of embarrassment and said, “None of us.” I asked, “Really? Who then?” When they told me they were taking Paul’s beloved Lemur to the pound I was truly shocked. Without thinking I said, “I’ll take him.”
At that point I had four dogs and six cats but I figured it would be easy to find a good home for this beautiful well mannered cat I had heard so much about but never met. It didn’t take long before I knew the “good home” was mine. He was just too special not to keep.
A few years later my life took a 180 degree turn and as I packed my things to move away from the life I had known for thirty-five years, I never even considered leaving Lemur behind.
Lemur and I had two great years alone in the woods in a little log cabin and then it was time to make the big leap and we crossed the country in our version of a covered wagon to California.
I am in my fifth year here in the mountains that rise from the desert floor just short of the Pacific Ocean. Lemur died a couple of months ago following a short but vicious bout of cancer. He is buried under the huge oak tree in the northwest corner of the property with a pile of stones marking his spot.
My story takes a turn now. Let me tell you about the hummingbirds.
When G and I set up house I unpacked a hummingbird feeder but it didn’t make it into a tree until about a year ago. I would fill it with sugar water and the acorn woodpeckers that proliferate the many oak trees on our property would promptly suck it dry. The hummers didn’t have a chance against these large aggressive birds and I let the feeder hang empty.
In June we built a patio and in it’s center is a beautiful fountain. The day we turned it on six hummingbirds arrived to bathe in and drink the running water We removed the perches from the feeder, moved it closer to the fountain and filled it with nectar. The hummingbirds started feeding almost immediately without the competition of the ‘peckers.
At the end of July I headed for a five week stint at Esalen Institute. By this time the hummingbirds were crowding the feeder that G was filling twice a day so he went to the bird store and bought four more figuring he wouldn’t have to fill them so often…or more birds would come.
In a few days he was counting 30-40 hummingbirds on the feeders at a time!
Meanwhile, I was at Esalen in a shamanic workshop with Hank Wesselman. One of the ceremonies we did was a partner journey. With someone in the group that we did not know, we journeyed via the drumbeat to the lower world with the intention to find a power animal for our partner and bring it back to them. My partner, who knew none of what was going on back at my house, brought me a hummingbird. Her name is Joy.
The next day I was privileged to receive a healing from a Huichol Indian currendero. During the healing she asked if I had lost anyone to death recently. I told her no, thinking of the people in my life. She persisted and I thought of Lemur. When I said “Yes, my cat” she told me I was still “holding ” him and it was important for me to reach closure and let him go.
Lemur’s death had been shocking not only because of it’s sudden nature but also because I had not felt that the veterinarian had done her best for Lemur and those of us who loved him. I had written a letter to her telling her how I felt, but concerned that perhaps I was over-reacting in my grief, I filed it away. Now I understood I needed to revisit the letter and either mail it or burn it and let the issues I had around his death finally rest.
When I returned home from Esalen mailing the letter was one of the first things I did.
On the following day, G and I were sitting on the patio enjoying the fountain and the feeders with their flock of hummingbirds when suddenly a pure white bird appeared. An extremely rare Albino hummingbird was at our feeder! I ran into the house and got the camera and we took pictures and made a video of it. As I was filming the video G was tracking it verbally and I heard him say, “there it goes!” I looked up from the camera and watched as it flew across the property and landed on Lemur’s grave. It sat for a few seconds on the stones and then flew up and perched on a limb directly over the grave. For several hours it flew back and forth between the feeders near the house and to the tree under which Lemur’s body lies. None of the other hummers left the grove of oaks the feeders hang from. As I watched this beautiful, rare event unfolding in my yard I said to G, “It is Lemur. He is back to tell me everything is alright now.”
One other person saw the white hummingbird. My friend Jan, who lives about one-half mile away, took a picture of it the next day at her feeder. Jan was the person who cared for Lemur when we were out of town. She adored him. He visited the two of us for four days. We haven’t seen him since.
We live in a wonderful, mysterious world. I am so grateful for this life I’ve been given.