When I was a tiny tot we had a skunk that sometimes shared our house. Not a pet skunk, mind you, but a wild skunk with all stinkbombing apparatus intact. This skunk slept in the bottom drawer of a built-in bureau. Mr. Skunk had somehow found his way in through the walls and into that drawer. My mom let him stay. She communicated with him both verbally and mentally. Somehow she made him understand that he was welcome as long as he confined himself to that one drawer and never sprayed his scent anywhere on the property. He cooperated, and got a nice, cozy indoor bed. One of my earliest memories is of opening that bottom drawer, thinking "Skunk is sleeping," closing the drawer, and continuing on with my diaper-clad day. It was the most natural thing in the world to me that Mom communicated with critters, and I've always done the same. So we come to late 2010. My frail, elderly mother says to me, "I have a book I want you to read," and she hands me Kinship With All Life. "This is the philosophy I used when I was raising you kids." All these years, and I never knew she got it from a book! Now I've read the book, and I feel fortunate to have grown up with the philosophy. None of it seems strange or ridiculous to me, because I've been doing it from infancy. All it takes is respect, humility, and the recognition that real communication is silent and comes from the heart---yours and theirs.