Hazon participant, John D. Schroeder, sent the following response to the Hazon letter, "The Animals in Eden": I would like to relate an experience my wife and I had almost a year ago, shortly after we moved to Oregon.
Being Californian city dwellers, we were charmed by the wildlife that daily walked through our yard. Squirrels were always there, and we were daily visited by white tailed deer and a growing number of wild turkeys. In the bright sunlight, we were amazed at the bright iridescent colors in their feathers. For some reason I became quite fond of the big birds, and they became quite fond of the feed corn we threw to them. We had been told that they roosted in trees several acres away, but we had never seen them do that. The thought of those large birds flying up into trees to roost piqued our curiosity, but we weren't sure where to look for them at dusk (when they went to roost). Then, on erev Yom Kippur [the eve of Yom Kippur], they came walking through our property just before evening, and I spoke with them as I always do. I want them familiar with my voice so they won't fear me as they do strangers. Well, that very special evening they walked down our driveway, just a few feet away from me and giving me the eye like they do when they're close. And then they flew up into the trees to roost all around our house. I felt immensely blessed. Something extremely special was happening, and one could feel it in the air. They had chosen erev Yom Kippur to show Michelle and me that they trusted us, and it also seemed to me that they sensed the holiness that was engulfing us that evening, and chose to add to it with their presence. It was a wonderful experience. So I, for one, must vouch for the spirit of animals being able to relate to holiness. It's in their eyes, coupled also with wariness. One can feel that they would like to relate more closely to human beings, but most of the time they don't dare.
This summer one of our grandsons came to visit us for three weeks, and by the end of his stay, he had a squirrel eating from one hand and a wild turkey eating from the other, simultaneously. These creatures are completely delightful, and constantly remind us that there is a better world coming, in their futures and ours.
In our recent mailing, John D. Schroeder described his moving experience with wild turkeys on the eve of Yom Kippur. This inspired Yosef Dov Ben Avraham (Joseph Storozhev), a resident of Canada, to send us the following letter:
I just wanted to tell how enthralled I was of John's letter and to thank you and he for sharing it. Animals know when a human is putting out the love of Hashem. Several winters ago we had a snow storm and got 5 feet of snow over two days. The black-tailed mule deer where I lived outside of Victoria were suffering. I dug paths for them and cleared out a large area behind my place. I bought feed for them and soon I could sit outside among them while they ate. It was truly magical being at times just inches away. A few even allowed me to stroke their backs. The whole time I lived there they trusted me and as John said, you could see it in their eyes. As the turkeys trusted John and his family these deer trusted me and many bedded down right outside my back door. If another person came, they vanished. This trust between animals and man is how it is supposed to be. The snow storm was during Chanukah. Indeed this reflects the world to come. Yosef
Hazon Commentary: The term "the world to come" refers not only to the world of the soul after it leaves the body; it also refers to the final stage of human history, when the knowledge of the Compassionate One will lead to true and lasting shalom on earth.