How would it feel to be in a small sailboat far from land in gale force winds? Are horses psychic? Did Sweet William come back to say goodbye? How can a puppy found starving to death in the Virginia countryside become a master sailor? What was it like to be at the helm of a 165 foot cement schooner and, looking down the steps, see water gushing into the cabin? Explore and discover the answers to these questions and more with the writer and her father in Messages from Nature, A Collection of Short Stories about Animals and the High Seas.
Messages from Nature is a collection of short stories about animals, trials at sea, and‘the evolutionary journey of man and nature. It is a book for all ages.
Based on my personal experiences, most of the stories were previously published in newspapers and magazines over the years. Also included is one poignant tale about a greyhound written by my late father, Daly Highleyman, and published in the 1930s.
How would it feel to be on a small sailboat far from land in gale force winds or suddenly subjected to a micro-burst? Are horses psychic? What was it like to be up at the helm of a 165-foot concrete schooner and, looking down the steps, see water gushing into the cabin? Did Sweet William come back to say goodbye? How can a puppy found starving to death in the Virginia countryside become a master sailor? Explore and discover the answers to these questions and more in Messages from Nature.
Progress is being made all over the world, the so-called progress named technology. But another avenue of progress is also being made all over the world and that is the progress of research in the field of creativity. It cannot be ignored that the creative endeavor has a spiritual side to it. Nor can it be said that creative work results from technical know-how. Inspiration is a key factor and its roots may not be as nebulous as they first appear. Genuine creative imagination does not just spring from the right hemisphere of the brain. I believe its roots come from a much deeper place: the heart. In this vein, it is my hope that this little tome will inspire the reader to feel and react to the beauty of nature and the love of animals; in effect, to experience the invaluable life lessons that only Nature can teach.
HOW DO WE MEASURE INTELLIGENCE?
Recently, I overheard someone comparing dogs to people. Their methodology of comparison used intelligence as the factor. My question then is how do you measure or define intelligence? Does compassion or empathy fit into this equation?
The other day, I heard a poignant tale. An older man was in the hospital and dying. His family received permission to have his companion dog allowed in the room for a last visit. The dog was ushered in and the door was closed. Fifteen minutes later, the family came back, opened the door expecting to escort the dog out. The patient was still in his bed. His arm was around his dog who had jumped onto the bed. The man was dead and his faithful dog had died beside him.
Empathy and compassion.
Sweet William was my wonderful, faithful companion. An English black and white cocker, he was my shadow. One day, I noticed his stool was white. I made an appointment with the vet but, at the last minute, was not able to take him. My daughter took William to the doctor instead. They took a sample of the stool and sent it to a laboratory. This was on Friday. By the end of the following week, I had not heard from the vet so I called. They had forgotten to send the sample they said. Besides, the lab was closed for the weekend but no worry. William seemed fine now, didn’t he? At that point he did. However, we had a trip to take. I had rented a U-Haul truck to deliver some furniture to my father’s house in North Carolina. It was a long drive from Charlottesville, Virginia, to Spruce Pine, North Carolina. Of course, Sweet William was coming, but I also took along my daughter’s Doberman. The whole drive down, William cuddled next to me on the seat. The Dobie stayed on the floor. We stopped twice at rest stops. Both times, William drank an entire bowl of water and seemed unwilling to saunter around the dog parks.
We arrived late, leaving the unloading until morning. William normally slept at the foot of my bed. That night, he chose not to and let the Dobie take his spot. In the morning, I woke up with a start. Something was wrong. I looked across the room and there was Sweet William leaning strangely against the wall. His eyes looked dazed so I approached him very quietly and slowly, afraid of frightening him. He was postured as if being tied against the wall, almost rigid. Not a comfortable position. When I reached out to pat his side, he cringed. Immediately I knew he was in pain. I called the vet and got his emergency number. He would meet us at the clinic.
The Doberman was left at the house while I ran across the street to borrow the neighbor’s car to take William. Taking the U-Haul would have been impossible since it was still unpacked and the cab was far too high for a pup in pain. Coming down the neighbor’s walkway, there was William walking very slowly up the hill just to be with me. It was painful to watch. He would not let me carry him. It was difficult getting him into the car, but somehow I did as the tears welled up in my eyes. Fortunately, the veterinary hospital was close. We arrived in minutes. William was immediately placed on the operating table and a tube was put in his side. He was dehydrated and in severe pain. The doctor said he could not determine the cause of his problem until the pain was under control. He had more to say but I did not hear him. I was focused on my brave little man lying on the cold steel table. He asked that William be left with him for the day and possibly the night so that he could do some tests. I had no choice. I went home to the Dobie and made myself busy unpacking the truck. In the afternoon, I made a visit to the vet. William was in a cage with an IV attached to his side. I spent about an hour on my knees talking to him through the bars. His sweet eyes focused on me and almost shifted back and forth as if to say, “I’m all right. Please don’t worry.” The other dogs in the clinic were respectfully silent. That evening, my son and a friend came from college to help unload the truck. We had no food in the house so we stopped to have pizza and then went to the hospital. It was locked. No visits possible with William until morning.
The boys chose sleeping bags to sleep by the fire in the living room. I retired to the bedroom with Jessie, the Dobie. The vet was supposed to call if there was any change when he went that night to check the animals. Nevertheless, even with Jessie at the foot of my bed, I found it very hard to go to sleep. The lights were off leaving only flickers from the fire reflecting on the walls leading to the living room. Just as I was dozing off, Jessie leaped off the bed. She dashed into the living room and raced from one end to the other waking up the boys and terrifying me. Then, just as sudden, she came back to my room, jumped on the foot of the bed, curled up, and immediately fell fast asleep! Within seconds, the telephone rang. It was the veterinarian. William had just passed away.
When I told the doctor about Jesse’s performance, he replied that he had heard of this kind of thing happening before. “You see,” he said, “William just passed over to say goodbye.”
The autopsy revealed that indeed the white stool had been a warning, though probably too late to do anything. The liver and kidney were practically non-existent. It was amazing he had lasted this long. We suspect he had raided a trash can in our Charlottesville neighborhood and a poison had been part of its contents. This poison had slowly eaten away his insides.
With the boys’ help, we dug a grave on the hillside below the house. It was a lovely setting with overhanging trees and flowering bushes all around and a vista of the mountain peaks in the distance.
Although William’s body is buried in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge, we know his soul has moved on. Perhaps he’ll come live with me again, but as another dog.
So, how do we measure intelligence? Empathy, compassion, endurance, and loyalty. With such standards, do you think people can measure up to dogs?
Rita Reynolds, author of Blessing the Bridge, What Animals Teach Us About Death, Dying, and Beyond. She is also the founder and editor of laJoie, a Journal in Appreciation of All Animals, first published in 1990 and distributed internationally
“Dr. Pat Daly-Lipe is a highly skilled writer whose love and compassion for animals is evident throughout the volume you now hold in your hands. Messages from Nature is a joy to read and resounds with respect and honor for all life, non-human and human, a rare quality these days.”
Tina Stonestreet, medical editor, minister, artist
Empowering with Love
“This compact book is an enticing smorgasbord of Patricia Daly-Lipe's personal experiences with Nature, from her loving and psychic connections with animals to woman-empowerment by this svelte yet very competent, hardy sailor and impressive navigator of dangerous seas. Her Zen-like approach in this book of prose, also honorably including her father's works and other quotes, spellbound me. An inspiring book.”
David Taub, Feature columnist for Poetry Now, Britain's lagest circulating poetry and short story magazine, author 'Language of Souls'
Nature's Wisdom (1st edition of Messages from Nature) is an eclectic collection of short stories..with the unusual twist of including some of her father's work...
Following the tried and true recommendation to 'Write what you know about', Daly-Lipe does exactly that, resulting in a patchwork quilt of light-hearted, easy-to-read autobiographical snap-shots of her travels in both the US and Europe, and the events in her life revolving around pets.
And, Daly-Lipe suggests, "If we listen, our animals will teach us more about love than most of our human friends can or will."
Then the inclusion of Daly-Lipe's personal photos further adds to her carefully crafted words, as if any additions were needed!
This collection will particularly appeal to pet owners, animal lovers, nature lovers, and travelers. I use the word "travelers" in both the context of physical and spiritual voyages alike. Indeed, Nature's Wisdom (the first edition of Messages..) makes for a pleasant voyage on which to embark.