The morning was early, and slightly misty. I found Google Mama wandering in a secluded manzanita grove. She was moaning quietly, very focussed, laying down, standing up, pacing. The calf we’d been waiting for, her fourth, was nearly here.
With one important chore still to do, I looked her in the eyes, and whispered, “I’ll be right back, Google. If you want me sooner, just let me know. I’ll come!”
About an hour later, a mile across the sanctuary, I felt her soundless call. Coal and I jumped in the truck and drove out to the herd. Google Mama was near where I’d left her. As I came in close, gently intoning her name, she glanced at me, and her waters broke! Within minutes, two little feet, in gelatinous white ‘slippers’, emerged from under her tail, then a muzzle, and a head. Google continued pacing. Baby squawked! And mother rumbled in reply. Finally, in a small clearing in the bushes, Google rolled on her side, delivering the baby easily onto the earth; a tangle of legs and neck. (May 25, 2008)
From where in the universe had she come!?
Coal yelped, darting in to lick the baby. Google stepped away, standing quietly, breathing deeply, collecting herself. By the time she returned, I’d removed the birth sac and sterilized the umbilicus. Google barked at Coal who retreated behind me, planting a happy lick on my neck. Like a sphinx, the baby girl sat gazing out into this wide, strange, world. Google Mama nudged her, humming, clucking, and biting, urging the baby to her feet.
Coal and I spent those days, and nights, in the pasture, keeping watch, and helping the baby stand and nurse every few hours. The little one would often drift to sleep on my lap, or chest. The rest of the herd stayed well away, knowing better than to invade the ‘nursery’.
Within a few days the baby was stable, attendant, and doing well. Those early times of close care, out there in the field, beneath the swirling sky, nurtured a deep bond between me, Coal, and the baby camel.
Elsewhere across America, the 2008 Democratic Primaries were underway. For reasons we will never completely know, Adi Da named the baby, “Barack O’Mama”. Adi Da was never politically inclined, nor did he take sides in human affairs, so we can only speculate why he offered this particular name at the time of Barack Obama’s approach to the U.S. Presidency. Maybe it was just his humor! Significantly, he also emphasized that “O’Mama” should be written in the Irish form, with the apostrophe!
When Barack O’Mama was strong enough, Google brought her out into the greater herd. There was a lot of excitement, as everyone was eager to meet the baby, nudging her around with warm noses. Google Mama, as herd leader, made clear the rules of first contact, and everyone was well behaved during introductions.
As Barack grew through the weeks and months, she was joined by two other newborns. “Green Smoothy” was so called because her parents had junk food names, and Adi Da wanted her to have a healthy name. Scrawny “Not-Two Mama” was third born that year, not second!
Though Barack O’Mama was always his priority, Coal kept close watch over all three nurslings. One morning, while he minded the infants, Google Mama approached, towering over him. She lowered her face to nuzzle his head and back, gently letting him know that she respected his attentions and trusted him. Coal glowed, his whole being radiating with the herd leader’s appreciation! That night, he drifted off to sleep under a gentle, whole-body, smile.
As the two other babies came into the herd, Google Mama made it clear to the inexperienced, first-time mothers, Muffin, and Purnimama, that their new calves were also hers. She directly approached each of them about this, requiring they both yield to her wishes. Through this, she helped in the raising of Smoothy, and Not-Two, teaching the younger mothers by example. While the babies adored their mothers, their respect for the wise, older, Google Mama, was awesome to see.
Alone in the pasture, or among the herd, Barack O’Mama and I would wrestle, play, and nap together. Coal would join us sometimes, though he mostly preferred to stand watch, barking loudly if he thought Barack was getting too rough with me. And he’d scold the mothers, too, if he felt they were being too tough on their daughters.
I never really ‘trained’ Barack O’Mama. It wasn’t needed. Our connection was natural, with a good balance of give and take, listening, feeling, and communicating. Without coaxing, she’d readily wear a halter and rope, and walk with me. She’d also walk without the rope, just as easily. Our bond ran deeper than I knew – something I’d learn more of in following years. One of our favorite things together was sitting, shoulder to shoulder, under mother trees and father sky… breathing and feeling the mystery. Sometimes I’d sneak away and hide deep in the paddock. As soon as she noticed my absence, she’d canter off, trotting all over, searching intently. Upon finding me tucked behind a log, tree, or in a ditch, she was always elated! Sometimes she’d scold me! Mostly, she was delighted, and we’d walk off together to rejoin the herd.
Barack O’Mama felt everything about me. I couldn’t hide much from her. She felt my moods, burdens, frustrations, joys. Over time, I became increasingly aware of her deepening empathy for all I was struggling to accomplish, with the Sacred Camel Gardens.
It gradually became clear that she didn’t just feel these things; she also experienced them, in her own fashion. She knew me like few others. I didn’t want her carrying my burdens this way. So, for her sake, I started spending less time with her, wanting her to focus more within the herd life, feeling that she needed to be with the others more fully. This was hard for her. She’d gaze at me, for long hours, from across the field. Over time, she accepted this new arrangement, gradually releasing some of her attachments. I still regularly connected with her, and we’d take walks together, but less often, and less long.
In May, 2012, I traveled away for several weeks. Upon returning I went straight out to the camels. It was late afternoon. They were far off in the pasture. They started slowly up the field, in single file. Suddenly, Barack pulled ahead, bolting through the woods at full speed. She was soon circling me, rearing, bouncing, and wriggling, in sheer happiness. As she relaxed, she started hugging me, grinning all over. I hugged her, too. Finally, we were just standing together, arm in arm, as the others arrived to mingle and reconnect. For the next week Barack O’Mama accompanied me everywhere!
As 2013 came around, unfolding events portended one of the hardest years of our lives.
We drifted, as bodies in water, into a year of challenge, tragedy, inexplicable loss, and mourning, which we all endured differently, but equally. Before the year was over, we’d lost three older horses, and also said goodbye to three adult camels and a couple of babies. I came close to dying, too, I think. Too many great, big, friends departed. The loss was overwhelming, and one of the deepest, most exhausting, tests of my humble life.
Barack O’Mama was also pregnant. About ten months into her thirteen month pregnancy, she started expressing some serious concerns to me, which grew stronger as the birth neared. We gave her a health check and everything seemed normal. Her new daily habit was to come right into my face, look directly in my eyes, rumble quietly, and lean on me for comfort. Standing quietly together was relaxing for her. Each day of the final two weeks before the birth, she angrily barked her alarm at me whenever I came around, and I would hold her. I summoned an easeful birth, and resumed spending more time with her again.
The day her labor began, she roared at me like a dragon, with a fury I’d never seen before. The process was drawn out, taking nearly two days. Finally, her waters broke, and a little white muzzle, and a foot, appeared from behind the tail. I gently pushed the muzzle back inside and brought the second foot forward. The nose then reappeared; so now a nose and two feet, and all seemed good. The baby spluttered… After more pacing, Barack O’Mama knelt down on the grass, rolled onto her side, gave a full heave, and a little white bull calf slipped out (June 20). Everything looked fine with baby and mother. I was so relieved! Barack stood up to begin tending the baby.
Then suddenly, her uterus, large and swollen, prolapsed under her rear legs! She dropped to the grass as if pulled hard from somewhere else! A thick, burgundy, curtain of richly glistening tissue stretched out behind her on the dry, yellow, grass. It was a magnificent drape of flesh, about 3 feet by 1.5 feet, and close to 40 pounds. Barack’s eyes rolled back. A pitiful, breathy, groan, rumbled up from deep inside her. She reached, one last time, for her baby, but a more powerful process was drawing her away. Her struggle was absolute.
The uterus is extraordinary, powerful, almost hallowed. It is a true ‘teleporter’ for beings coming into physical form from other worlds, to live here in this one for a time.
For a brief moment Barack O’Mama was a relieved, nurturing, new mother. Then, with a thump, the life was pouring out of her! One moment she was present with her baby, attentive, and loving. Then suddenly, she was falling away, disappearing from this place, and all the things, and ones, she knew. I picked up the new baby and sent him to the house where friends could begin his feeding and hands-on care. I needed to focus entirely on Barack O’Mama this night.
When the vet arrived it was almost dark. We continued bathing and shrinking the uterus to a size where we could, hopefully, re-insert the organ. But her birth canal was narrow. Eight or nine hours later, in the dark of early morning, we still hadn’t succeeded. Barack O’Mama was sedated but conscious. After lengthy deliberations with our vet, and the others helping, I made the hard decision to say goodbye to our beloved heart-friend by employing euthanasia, to move her on, sending her off with all love and blessing. To this day my heart still breaks, and is forever broken, in the knowledge of all these passings.
I don’t understand everything about Barack O’Mama’s concerns leading up to the birth of her baby. She sensed something coming, and wasn’t happy about it. Just before her water broke, she barked in my face with such force, I still feel the hot storm that broiled in her.
Her death was pivotal, and personal, but not an ending.
Over the years I’ve ascertained a life that is about undoing those deeper patterns in mankind, and me, that require fear to persist and grow. Adi Da’s “Vision of Fear-No-More” is about compassionately fostering broad, radical, change in all the ways that humans live, and participate, in this entirely non-human world. I’ve seen great resistance to this, both in me, and everyone else, in so many ways. The formidable events of 2013 were a dramatic, deadly, result of this resistance. It was a decisive year for the Sacred Camel Gardens; a struggle, beyond my conscious awareness, with forces working to undermine the Camel Gardens, and its development.
At times, I’m asked, “How could this have happened?”
Isn’t it clear? In the larger scheme of things, if the non-humans are not respected, acknowledged, loved, and wholly supported, by us, we all are already perished. Human and non-human are not different, or separate!
Representative of all non-humans, the way Barack O’Mama left us, envisioned to me the pure despair that non-human life feels about how humans live, as parasites, upon nature.
I believe that a process was in motion throughout Barack’s life, whereby she drew some of these destructive energies to herself – from me, and the larger human world. When she barked in my face it felt like her own clarion call, as she leaped wildly into the void, fully aware of the likely outcome. Our closeness gave me to feel, in some measure, that she intended to turn what was about to occur into something that would wholly benefit the Sacred Camel Gardens, and its mission. As she fell away, I partially fell with her. I also felt her carrying off something of the pernicious, resistant, energies, working to undermine the Camel Gardens, possibly mitigating further negative events. We were also left with the vivid message of her delicate insides, out-turned, forever warm and wet in our hands, as well as the gift of her calf, still to fully play his part in the radical vision of “Fear-No-More”.
Adi Da’s communications about the true nature of non-humans, and our right relationship with the entire non-human world, has changed my view of life. What humans are up to at present was built century through century on the progressive dismissal of the true worth, intelligence, and very life of all Life, including ours. How we did, and do, this, is another conversation but, factually and morally, we are completely amiss. Humanity is on the verge of destroying all life as we know it. This is no game! It’s not sport, or amusement. It’s about our fear, sorrow, and anger… and our struggle with this life – so brief – which we seek to, but never can control.
These things and events are simply what they are. If we are observant, they are reflective of what we are doing, and how we live in this place.
Do you live well? Are you kind? Are you strong? Compassionate? Do you listen? Do you participate in Truth Itself? Are you Free? Do you grant Freedom to all? Do you trust? Are you happy? Are those around you good? Do you feel death always near? Are you relaxed?
The camels’ participation in, and service to, Adi Da’s “Vision of Fear-No-More”, is deliberate and conscious; likely more so than mine. In their way, they feel the challenges of life and death much more clearly than I. Like all non-humans, they assume the serious responsibilities for family, herd, culture, natural meditation, and ready participation in Divine Awareness. Non-humans are the living demonstration of the, “Vision of Fear-No-More”, which vision of life Adi Da compassionately invites all of humanity into!
If you support the Sacred Camel Gardens, and the Vision of Fear-No-More, you are boldly supporting a new vision for humanity to take hold in this world.
The misapprehension we have of ourselves, at present, daily proves to be a horrible failing. But these are the very times when great, good, change is possible, and so needed.
Whenever you visit the Sacred Camel Gardens, please sit near Barack O’Mama’s grave for a while. You may feel something of her depth and strength, as well as her unique life in service to all of us. Since her passing, the signs of new growth have become clearer, and the Vision is becoming stronger, more evident. I think of her every day with gratitude and love, and bless her to continue growing, wherever she is.