Hummingbirds. Hold onto that thought for a moment.
Stephen Mitchel, writing in The Enlightened Mind, refers to Indra’s Net as a “profound and subtle metaphor for the structure of reality.” He asks us to imagine a vast net that at every crossing point features a jewel. Each jewel is so clear and perfect that it reflects all the other jewels in the net, “the way two mirrors placed opposite each other will reflect an image ad infinitum. The jewel in this metaphor stands for an individual being, or an individual consciousness, or a cell or an atom. Every jewel is intimately connected with all other jewels in the universe, and a change in one jewel means a change, however slight, in every other jewel.”
In other words, we are all so intimately connected to each other – human, animal, plant – that it’s as if this net covers the entire planet. Pluck one string in the net, and all of them vibrate. And this was how it felt to Sandy, a retired veterinarian, who experienced a cluster of hummingbird synchronicities that seemed to be telling her that her beloved dog, Nellie, might be ailing.
In August 2013, Nellie was twelve and a half, wasn’t eating well, just wasn’t herself. One night, Sandy had a magnificent dream about two hummingbirds hovering around her mailbox, facing each other. They were larger than normal hummingbirds and she sensed they were mates. In the dream, their wings came together to form a heart shape.
A couple of days after she’d had the dream, she and her husband, George, were sitting in their yard and a hummingbird appeared, larger than most hummingbirds, just as in her dream. “Hummingbirds are winter residents in Florida and it was mid-August; I have no idea what a hummingbird was doing here at this time of year,” she says. “To me, the hummingbird represents angelic energy, joy.”
A few days later, she was downloading songs that a friend had sent her years ago – 200 songs, odds and ends. She figured she should get them into the music file on her computer. While the songs were downloading, she noticed a hummingbird out in the garden and went over to the window to get a closer look. But it had flown away. She turned back to her computer and saw that the download had stalled. The song that refused to download? Seals & Croft’s Hummingbird.
The next day, Sandy passed a road she’d never seen before and glanced at the sign: Hummingbird Lane. It was now abundantly clear to her that she was in the grips of synchronicity and she felt it was related to Nellie’s deterioration. Sandy checked her over and found a large mass in her abdomen. She took the dog to her vet, and sure enough, he identified it as well. He didn’t think Nellie was a candidate for surgery and not long afterward, Sandy and George had to have her put down.
Sandy understood that the cluster of hummingbird synchros had been alerting her to Nellie’s condition. Hummingbirds not only symbolize joy, but in some indigenous traditions are considered to be messengers from the spirit world. “These synchros softened the blow of her passing, and helped to heal our broken hearts.”
This story begs the question: did Nellie’s soul summon these hummingbirds so that Sandy would become aware that Nellie wasn’t just ailing, but was dying? Can a dog’s soul call on other creatures – even those of a different species – and enlist their help in the process of dying?
Perhaps. As author Dean Koontz writes in A Big Little Life: a memoir of a joyful dog named Trixie, (about his special Golden Retriever) “Living with a recognition of the spiritual dimension of the world not only ensures a happier life but also a more honest intellectual life than if we allow no room for wonder and refuse to acknowledge the mystery of existence.”