Stories and Journeys

Signs of spring


Dear Reader: This column is about signs of cpring showing up in my life experiences and awareness. So, buckle up! If you have read this far you have taken the plunge into the river (flow) of life experiences which is Stories and Journeys.

This spring, a rabbit keeps appearing in the yard next to my house. One sign of spring. It appears to be the same rabbit. It keeps showing up in the same place. My neighbor and Messenger reader Julie thinks it is looking for a place to nest. I am experiencing feelings of kinship with this rabbit. I juxtapose this real life rabbit experience with a rabbit dream I experienced recently.
In the dream, I am in the kitchen of my house. I am standing at the sink with the cutting board out. On the cutting board I am holding down a rabbit. I am about to cut off its head. Suddenly, I realize I can't do it. Something deep inside of me causes me to stop. I cannot take the life of this living being. I proceed to set the rabbit free. I have just been reminded of a core piece of my identity coming from my life experience with animals.
Lessons taught to me by animals showing up in my life as teachers. My first cat, Peepers, taught me that I am not the superior species only a different species. With Peepers I discovered the reality of the human-animal bond. Later at the U of M Center for Spirituality and Healing I would learn about the human-animal bond as an alternative healing modality.
While browsing in the book store as a volunteer back in the day at the Animal Humane Society, I discovered and was inspired by a book about St. Frances of Assissi, a friend to all creatures. And from the animals (cats) in my life, I experienced and learned unconditional love. I recently found a bookmark I had picked up one day at Lake Harriet Veterinary where I used to take my cats for treatment, including acupuncture. It contains the words, "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."- Anatole France
The core lesson for me is the trust of an animal is sacred.

Hilarity at the State Capitol
Another sign of spring for me is the current Minnesota legislative session is came to a close May 22. I watched it on TPT week days. Now I have a reputation for being a source of levity/hilarity in people's lives. I have experienced hilarity in some of the floor speeches I have listened to coming from the Minnesota Senate. One, in particular, that stood out was delivered by Senator Steve Drazkowski. In a floor speech, he asserted, without evidence, that the Minnesota AFL-CIO and affiliated unions are guilty of money laundering. I found this assertion to be hilarious. I find many of his assertions to be hilarious.
I am a member of the Minneapolis Regional Retirees Council (AFL-CIO). I like to think we would know about any money laundering going on.

Celebrating Farmer's Market Opening
Midtown Farmers Market opened for 2023 on May 6. Another sign of spring. I'm celebrating the woman who came up to me as I was placing my omelet order with Jonathan at the Kabomelette venue. She identified herself as someone who delivers Meals on Wheels to my house and she identified herself as a reader of Stories and Journeys in the Messenger.
I'm celebrating another woman who came up to me. She identified herself as a former front desk staff at Lake Harriet Veterinary. She recognized me. I remembered her. We did some carching up.
Catching up with folks at the market for me included what has happened in my life since last October. Spine surgery, COVID-19 and, most recently, emergency hospitalization to remove my gallbladder due to gallstones.
I'm celebrating the return of Havliceks Orchard. I was out of apples. I am celebrating the discovery of Urban Forage as new to the market this year. Finally I am celebrating the DJ playing music. For a brief moment, I broke out in a dance move.
I'm looking forward to future markets be they Midtown, Fulton, Kingsfield or Nokomis.
So, dear reader, what signs of spring as summer approaches have showed up in your life experiences and awareness? Tell yourself, tell others or tell me.
In gratitude.
Donald L. Hammen is a longtime south Minneapolis resident, and serves on the All Elders United for Justice leadership team.


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