— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — August 1, 2017 A sweet young volunteer, Gwen, came into the office walking softly, her hands cupped together in front of her ever so gently, holding something apparently very delicate and precious.  It was a baby bird. She had seen it tumble off our roof from under the gable onto the ground. She rushed to pick it up. It was still alive. It was far too young to survive out of the nest, having just sprouted a few tufts of feathers sticking out in ungainly fashion from its naked pink skin.  It was a baby sparrow. Left to Right: Baby sparrow just fallen off roof, baby sparrow in hand | Photo by Earthfire Here was a golden opportunity for Gwen,...

-- by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. -- I was driving to town the other day to run errands. I was almost there when I suddenly felt a strange movement and weight on the top of my right thigh. I looked down and thought, “That is a large mouse.” Then I realized it wasn’t a mouse at all. It was an ermine.* We have had a family on the property for years. They have never caused any trouble with our chickens or eggs, and we peaceably coexisted, though once one ill-advisedly attached itself to the back of the foot of one of our ducks. We take great delight in seeing their lithe forms darting across the property. We don’t keep domestic cats because of their preying on birds and other small animals...

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Jose, our animal caretaker, approached me with something cupped gently in his large gloved hands – a tiny baby sparrow. He had found it near the coyotes and was afraid it was about to be eaten. It was fully feathered but still had that large pathetic yellow-rimmed baby mouth that young birds have. He could flutter along the ground but wasn’t quite yet able to fly. I held him for a bit while Jean went to get a bird cage. Its tiny feet clung tightly to my fingers as I cupped him to help him feel warm and secure in the dark. Still, I could feel his heart beating wildly. Mom and baby sparrow We put him in a small cage while I thought what to do. I...

Among other animals we had an exquisite, playful, affectionate cougar girl here, Tahi, and a determined little three-legged deer, Runs-Like-the-Wind. We treasured them both. Spending time with a member of any species gives you great appreciation for how wondrous each one is and makes it hard to value one over another. On New Year’s Day Amy, who originally rescued our baby deer, came to take him for an expedition in the woods on our property. As she was walking with him he suddenly bolted. She looked up and there was a cougar not 20 feet away. Her husband, Brian, was up ahead and had been seen it running in her direction. By the time Amy saw it, the cougar had just apparently seen her,...

A tele-call with Rose De Dan of Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing; Susan Eirich of Earthfire Institute; and Mia Schiff, Pipe Carrier for the Lakota Sioux tradition. Earthfire Institute has been gifted a white buffalo calf by a Native American retreat participant. The White Buffalo Calf Woman came to the Lakota people at a time they were in conflict and she brought unity – teaching people the correct way of interacting with each other and with the land – how to walk on Mother Earth in a sacred manner. Earthfire’s vision is one of teaching people how to come back into circle through animals, enlarging our sense of community to include all living beings. Rose De Dan’s vision is one...