(Continued… check the three previous posts for the beginning of this story)
I thought that title would get you! This is the final installment of my story of the stuffed lynx and the taxidermied bust of an antelope, which occupied the retail store at the Snowmass Village, Colorado, ski mall, where I worked about six years ago. We three, manned that small space, day after day; though this particular slow day in question is the only time I made an effort to have a discussion with them. Since I journal all interesting events in my life, I was writing it down as it occurred. I do recommend that you read the previous three posts for the whole story, as it will explain my fascination with the art of think-talking, which is just what it sounds like: forming your sentences in your head, but not enunciating them into the air with your mouth. It’s a little more deliberate than just “thinking,” but isn’t all that hard.
Okay, when I left off yesterday, I had taken the small lynx off of the shelf behind my head, and was having a fine conversation with him. We two had spoken of the antelope, which perpetually looks out of the front window. This day was very odd, in that it had witnessed two inquiries about purchasing these animals. Every other day, before and after, they just sat there like decorations, with no one showing any interest in buying them. The attention of these customers was surely what caused me look at them in a new light and come up with the idea of this very strange conversation. To continue my journal entry:
“2:45 p.m. – A broadly smiling, friendly man just popped in to price the antelope, so let’s interview it before it gets away.
Me – Hi Antelope! May I interview you from this desk while you continue to gaze out of the window?
Antelope – Yes, of course. This is our customary position. I don’t know what we’ll talk about… (This is a very talkative animal. Keeps talking faster and longer than I can write.)
Me – First things first. Are you a male or a female? I don’t like to call you “It.”
Antelope – I am female. And, I do not know about any lynxes behind me. I can’t see in there. If there is one, it is very good to me. I just learned about it when I picked up your thoughts mentioning me in the same context with a lynx in the store. Would you tell me about this situation? I don’t think there’s any danger to me. I don’t think so, because I don’t smell him.
Lynx – You can’t smell! They did something to us!
Antelope – But, not to worry about anything. People are walking by here all the time, and I see that they are not trying to hurt me. Even the dogs are only sniffing quietly at me and not biting my legs.
Lynx – That’s ’cause you don’t have any legs, anymore! They did something to them.
Antelope – Whose is that voice?
Me – It’s Bucky Cat (a comic strip cat character), the lynx in here. Tell me, Antelope, how did you die? As if I didn’t know.
Antelope – I was shot!
Lynx – So was I!
Me – See how much you have in common, guys? I think you make a very good balance in here. In fact, I think it’s the literal fulfillment of the Bible Prophecy concerning the “lion lying down with the lamb.” You’re an antelope, instead of an actual lamb, but it still fits. And, this mountain lion IS lying down. So, I’m sure that it is so! Very portentous!
Antelope – Why do people stuff us?
Lynx – I don’t know, actually, why they do it. But, I don’t think that it’s a good idea, because everything should be recycled, and I’m stuck in this very comfortable, but completely immobile, position.
Antelope – Anyway, I think it’s not so bad. I would be dead now, anyway, and at least, I can look at things, still. I can’t dart away, like I used to; so I just stay in one place, and I do think that’s okay. So, that’s what I think about it.
Me – Can you hear the music playing out in the Mall?
Antelope – Actually, I do! I think that it’s very interesting. No, I never had any babies…(in answer to my thought-of, but un-think-talked, question.) I did not create any family, and now, I think that I am definitely glad that I didn’t.
Me – Would you like to go home with either the young family, or the man who just inquired about you?
Antelope – No! I would not want to leave this very convenient listening post. It is very special to me. Never in my difficult life have I ever felt so very happy. Difficult, because there were so many dangers out there. And, difficult because of my constant hunger. And now, I don’t seem to get hungry any more. Especially, when I can’t move any longer. It’s very convenient that we don’t have to leap around, eating all over the countryside, and then running from our enemies. Thank you, Lynx-in-the-store, for not chasing after me!
Lynx – It’s nothing to me, because I can’t get up. But, actually, I don’t have to chase you because I’m not hungry, either. I’m really pretty comfortable. Listen, it’s definitely nicer than starving out in the wild.
Antelope – I’ll tell you what, Lynx! Don’t chase me and I will not stomp you! I think that’s a good plan, don’t you?
Me – Do you suppose that the two of you can talk together and keep each other company without my serving as a go-between? Just for your own enjoyment?
Antelope – I think maybe we could. I didn’t even know about him, so I don’t know if we can. What do you think, Lynx?
Lynx – I don’t care! You see, I am not in the habit of talking to anybody, especially to prey.
Me – Well, wait a minute! This article said that you eat rabbits. An antelope is too big for just one of you to hunt, anyway.
Antelope – That’s true. I don’t think any of us are used to chatting very much, but it would be so nice for me to explain to you what is going on outside.
Lynx – Yes, it would! I can’t always tell from up here. Okay, let’s do it, if we can, without this woman in-between.
Me – I’m going to try to set things up so that you two can communicate easily.
And so, it has been done! Let this serve as the symbolic coming together of traditional enemies; of bullies and victims; who no longer need to stay polarized, but who can now begin to help and appreciate each other.”
And that’s the whole story of the Antelope, the Lynx, and me. If you are ever in the outdoor Mall, right up on the ski slopes of Snowmass Village, Colorado, (just a few miles from famous Aspen,) please visit Stephen’s Fur Store, and you will probably see these two wild friends still carrying on their conversation to this very day.
My last two posts have been taken from a 2003 journal entry, written in Snowmass Village, Colorado, when I worked in a fancy retail store at the ski-slope Mall. The topic was think-talking with inanimate objects. Here, at last, is the actual conversation with the two animals who shared the store with me – in their taxidermied forms. The lynx, or bobcat, was fairly small and its whole body was preserved. The antelope, represented by only head and shoulders, lived at the front window, providing a Western atmosphere…I suppose. This turned out to be the only day that we conversed, as things went back to the way they always had been, on my next working day. Here’s the story:
“I have this bobcat down on my desk from its high perch behind me. I think it’s really a lynx, which is an endangered species. I have just cut out a newspaper article about these wildcats, which they are trying to reintroduce in Colorado. They’re not doing well, at all. Most starve, get hit by cars, or get shot. The ones that do survive, don’t reproduce.
So now, this one is sitting on my desk, giving me its frozen, but highly-alarmed, wild stare. I have just dusted it off with a Kleenex.
Me – “Are you a lynx?”
Lynx – “I am a lynx. Rather, I was a lynx.” (the voice is distant)
Me – “An ex-lynx, then?”
Lynx – “Yes, an ex-lynx!”
Me – “Are you male or female?”
Lynx – “I am male. Females don’t do extra things, like I do. This is really strange for me to be talking to you. So many times, I have been up here, on my perch, and I have wondered who you were, and I wanted to look into your face. I have seen you, virtually, every day, and I know the back of your head very well.”
Me – “That’s the pouncing place, up there, for unsuspecting retail clerks, like me.”
Lynx – “You are not only a retail clerk. I have seen you become a good friend to some of the people.”
Me – “Do you want to give me an overall view of these people?”
Lynx – “Yes. I have never been in contact with humans, ever in my life. Only in my death. And, I don’t think that I would get along with many of them. I must say that you do get along with them. I don’t think that I would. I would bite them.”
Me – “How did you die?”
Lynx – “I was shot by somebody. I was minding my own business and he came into my territory, and his dogs treed me. They took me away after they killed me. So, here I am. At least, I am still whole.”
Me – “How would you like to be a lynx coat, like some of your buddies are?”
Lynx – “I would not like that, at all. Not if I didn’t like the person wearing it. Mortality is not so bad. It’s the immortality that really is difficult, if you wind up in a place you don’t want to be. Get me away from this place. I don’t want to stay up on that shelf any more.”
Me – “How about that nice family that inquired about buying you?”
Lynx – “No! It would be so difficult to stay away from you. I’ve grown accustomed to the back of your head. Actually, actually, I don’t want to leave my prey, up there. I’m always planning ways to jump on that antelope. Could you take both of us with you? I’m serious! We want to go with you when you move! I can’t stand it when that other lady comes to work, when you do not show up. She is so nervous and I keep wanting to jump on her and calm her down with my teeth. But, you are so different. I like to be with you.”
Me – “I’m giving you and your prey, your antelope friend up there in the front window, credit for the good atmosphere in here. That helps me to put up with being in here so much.”
Lynx – “Yes, I think you’re right. It’s a pretty good place to be.”
This cat still has a built-in, startled look in his eyes, and always will have, for that matter. But, I swear that it’s softened up a bit, from the first good look we got at each other’s faces. Something about his close proximity is very sneezy. As if the dust is ingrained. I wiped him off as much as I could.”
(To be continued… Next post, the antelope will get in on the conversation. Stay tuned.)
A few years ago, I lived in the gorgeous Rocky Mountain Colorado resort area of Aspen and Snowmass Village and worked in a beautiful store in the Snowmass Mall overlooking the ski slopes. When snow was light on the ground, sometimes there weren’t very many shoppers and I had downtime to fill while I manned the store. Reading books or writing in my journal were often solutions to the many long hours between customers. Here’s an excerpt from my journal about a strange day’s experience:
“I have just read a book, called Medicine Maker, about the traveling of consciousness. The author had a spirit stone, which he found in Hawaii and brought to California. He felt that it contained the spirit of Pele, the Volcano Goddess, and said that, pretty soon, plants in his backyard began to bloom and bear grapes like crazy. If he put his hand on it, he felt a jolt of energy, and so he decided to communicate with the rock in think-talk. Answers, either in an affirmative feeling, or in some whole transmitted idea, came into his mind, full-blown.
When someone is courageous enough to publish what they have been through, it really helps the rest of us, out here in the world, who resonate with something of the same thing. Our experiences are quite different, but some of the things we’ve learned from them are similar. The whole field is a unified one and we can use this process to understand things about time, soul, creation, and the purpose of life. So, it’s like reading the account of a fellow foreign traveler, who might have gone to a different country than I did, but whose comments ring true to my own experience. It helps put the puzzle pieces together as to what an inner life is all about. Best of all, it validates my conviction that we who travel in these Other Lands of the Mind are not crazy!
On rare occasions, I have addressed inanimate objects in think-talk and I’ve always received an instant answer in mental words. But, I’ve never taken it very seriously, and have never continued the conversation very long. One example is my little Volkswagen bug convertible. I chat lightly with it when I get in, telling her what we are going to do, complimenting her for starting and just encouraging her, in general. She answers back and sometimes, I can feel her questions. This urge to communicate is temporary and recent, probably merely from guilt because I’ve stored her for so very long under a snowbank during these Colorado winters.
I’m very breezy about this communication and have always thought that it was simply The Holy Spirit (with Whom I frequently converse), humoring me; playing with me; providing words for what He might guess would be said by that object “if it could talk.” So, I play too, and chit-chat. But, I don’t take it too far. For one thing, it always sounds like His Voice, though maybe much less strong.
Anyway, yesterday I had just read this book about the spirit stone. A family was in the store and inquired about the two stuffed animals – a stuffed lynx and an antelope – for their new house. There is a small bobcat on a shelf over my head, which has simply sat up there as long as I have worked in this store. I lifted him down so that they could see. Small for a bobcat; big for a cat; he has long, soft fur and is lying in a relaxed pose, with head raised up, looking forward. Might actually be a “her,” come to think of it.
Anyway, after they left, I kept my hand on its back and stroked it with the other hand and directly addressed it in think-talk. Something about “Would you like to go with that family?” It immediately answered, in a cottony, think-talk voice: “Yes, I would! They seemed very nice.” I stroked and talked a little more and then returned it to the shelf.
Walking home, I talked this over with The Holy Spirit and asked if it was really Him providing the answers for these inanimate objects. He was shocked. “No! Never! It comes from them and always has.” He told me that I really do tune into them and He has nothing to do with putting words in their mouths or assuming what they would say, as I had thought. So, that was news.
I have often wondered why it was that I could stand to spend so many hours alone in that small store, without going stark raving something. It’s very odd for me because I couldn’t tolerate that in a lot of places. Perhaps, it is the wise, calm presence of this sweet cat above my head that clears the air and makes it feel good to me. I have no idea! Maybe I’ll try to find out. We also have a mounted antelope’s neck and head, staring out of the front window. A small predator and a large prey. Maybe it results in some sort of eternal balance or a coming to terms in easy companionship. Who knows? Shall we interview them in the store today?”
That was the end of that journal excerpt and I’m going to continue this theme on the next posting. What can I say to those of you who would object to the reality of taxidermy, in the first place. I don’t approve of hunting or stuffing, either, but the deed was done long before I came on the scene and it was the current situation all three of us, me, the lynx, and the antelope, had dealt out to us. Tune in later, to see how they felt about it.
Oh, one more point: I do believe in a universal consciousness contained in all things, which makes it much easier for me to swing along this path. For those readers without such a foundation; you have full permission to scoff. Even though cotton now replaces the brain cells of these dead animals, perhaps their selfness can return for a chat, when addressed. I know…. I know…. Strange and weird, indeed, but it does hang together in a pretty good story. Do tune in again.