My Digital Sketchpad…an Animal Totem

I’ve talked about my digital sketchpad on this blog before. My digital sketchpad is my DSLR and I enjoy using that wonderful tool to shoot ideas I have that will ultimately end up on film, my analog art form. I’m at it and still working on this skull project that I’ve continued to expand over the past couple months. With the generosity and thoughtfulness of a dear friend, I acquired a new skull for Christmas. Now, talk about a cool Christmas gift and, this is the most unusual one I’ve ever received. To be honest, she said it’s the most unusual one she’s ever given as well…an ermine skull! It’s tiny, elegant, delicate and beautiful in every little facet! And, even more so because she and I share the ermine connection – that’s our animal.

Our animal you might ask? How? Well, you know animals make appearances in our lives for different reasons, and they mean different things. I’ll try to explain. It’s called a totem animal, and when we pay attention, animals that appear in our lives can assist us in understanding our pasts, and give us a glimpse into our future. Really, these animals can help reveal who we are.

The ermine is an interesting little creature, which shares her totem family with weasels, minks and ferrets. Oh, did I mention I’ve owned two ferrets as pets, via my husband. I married Randy and his ferret, Squirrel. (Don’t ask…) And, we eventually adopted a second ferret rescue early in our marriage and he was called Chester, again, don’t ask…

Back to the ermine…so, the weasel totem family as described by Animal Totems online:

This totem is a difficult power totem to have.
It is a rare gift and great ability.
Weasel medicine can teach you to find out secrets through the power of silent observation.

Most Weasel people are loners, graceful, solitary and silent. They are very intelligent.
People do not see their power immediately and often underestimate them.

Weasel totem will awaken your innate ability for observation.
Trust your own instincts and you will avoid trouble and pursue your goals to greatest success.
Use your Weasel medicine to observe what or who needs attention
and offer assistance in your quiet or discreet way.

I did digress a bit in my efforts to explain. How does this make the ermine “our” animal? Well, we were out shooting together, early one morning at the Interpretive Paint Mines near Calhan, and we were the only people in the park with the exception of one nice man who was also taking the beautiful, quiet morning to photograph. Then, as we were walking along, stopping to look, chatting and enjoying the quiet, we had an observer, a graceful, solitary and silent, observer! This little ermine spent quite a few minutes with us, trying to figure us out, and seemed to enjoy our presence. We both managed to get a few shots off, too.

Our Casual Observer
Our Casual Observer

She hung out for a while, watching us, observing and we became as fascinated with her as she was with us. Then, just like that, she was gone! From then on, that ermine, her story, and her totem power became our animal, and ultimately, a part of my skulls project. When I learned more about what her totem power was, it fit and it fit the both of us.

Ermine Ghost - Sketch #1
Ermine Ghost – Sketch #1

I’ve shot some film and digital images since making the image I’ve shared here, but I wanted to post an early look at what I’m doing, just for fun. And, what do you notice first about her? I notice those wide eyes and large brain cavity! Observant and smart! Yes, observant and smart! Perceptive, intelligent and mindful.

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