When we moved to Water Weasel in the summer of 1996 we never thought we'd leave. My friend, Heidrun, loaned us Behaving that fall and then encouraged me to get both the Workbooks since I had a whole landscaping project ahead of me. You see, Water Weasel had never had permanent people "caretakers." We bought the 27 acres with a small cabin-barn, converted the structure into a small house, fenced in a half-acre for the kitties to roam without bothering the wildlife — and to protect the kitties from wildlife. Early spring 1997, I connected with nature to set up their sanctuary. They chose a place at the far end, but just outside the fence within view of the yard and house. I marked the perimeter they designated with a hemp rope, using the oak, pine and fir trees as "posts." When I completed the task, which was testy since this was on a fairly steep slope, I suddenly had a huge welling up of joy and delight in my heart — almost the feeling of a little kid the night before Christmas. My skin flushed with goose bumps, and my eyes welled with tears. I stood there feeling nature's loving delight in now having their sanctuary and assurance of our pending co-creative endeavors.

We spent those next three springs and summers creating more and better, expanding, changing, digging, hauling, improving, moving yellow jackets and ants, troubleshooting this and that. This spring I told nature I couldn't do it this year, so we just did the veggie garden and maintained. In the late spring, my husband and I decided we would move out of the area, and I realized why I had told nature (maybe they were telling me!) I just couldn't do another big year. By mid-summer, sometime in July, I felt myself unintentionally disconnecting emotionally from the garden, simply keeping it going for the next owners, whoever they might be. I watered, weeded, deadheaded flowers, ate the veggies but didn't communicate or work with nature consciously at all. I could also feel nature pulling away (an indescribable feeling), but I didn't feel any emotion about it. The garden was beautiful, trouble-free and the veggies were robust. Perhaps it was the best yet.

About two days before we drove off with all our possessions loaded up on wheels, my husband had an interesting unexpected communication with a fox squirrel that I had named Fat Freddy. They had become friends during Mike's early morning bird-feeding duties. Mike had taken a few moments to sit down that hot afternoon while loading the van. Fat Freddy came close by, did a few tricks to get his attention, then ran up a nearby tree and just leaned over the branch and looked at Mike for several minutes. As they gazed at each other, Mike said he had an overwhelming feeling of sadness come over him, and he realized this little fox squirrel was saying goodbye, not just for him, but for all of the forest friends we had been feeding throughout the years, the deer and other wildlife we had enjoyed watching, and the whole of Water Weasel. Mike also said he knew this sadness came directly from Fat Freddy.

The next day, I went out to the Nature Sanctuary to find out if it should stay or be dismantled. It should be dismantled. I untied the rope and walked all around the circle collecting the rope on my arm. When I finished and said the appropriate words, suddenly I felt this heavy, almost painful, weight of sadness in my heart. I stood there beginning to weep, surprised with the emotion. I had felt no emotion about selling Water Weasel and leaving the area completely, about not working with nature during this spring and summer, or even about dismantling the sanctuary, and here I was suddenly weeping with a heavy aching heart. Then, like Mike, I realized this was not mine; it was nature's communicating with me that I felt. It was the exact opposite feeling from when we set up the sanctuary: a loving "Farewell."

— M.H., California