It’s only 8:30 in the morning and already I’m outnumbered.
Besides squirrels and chipmunks, I’m usually I’m the only mammal around.
But not today.
This morning, as dawn was painting the sky a chicory-blue and the cardinals were chirping away, I walked around outside.
I usually spend mornings in the Light Half this way: warm cup of coffee in hand; walk, pause, stare, feel, notice.
I visit the little boulder-garden-creek I’ve been working on (remember?) and look for prints in the soft mud.
There are many.
I check on the newly transplanted ferns and sage. I wonder if I should lean the ladder against the hill to get at the bittersweet vine and pull it down.
I round the corner to the ritual garden, lost in thought.
And then a twig snaps up in the woods.
When squirrels move around in the woods, it’s a rustling sound, turkeys too.
Only big things break twigs as they walk.
So I silently get myself back to the porch that sets me eye level with the crest of the hill.
And in no time a yearling bear, no doubt one of the rascals I watched grow last summer, sauntered right up to the crest of the hill too.
He perched his front feet on a tree stump, busy sniffing me on the air.
Then we meet eyes.
The gaze lasts just long enough to where I can feel myself breathing, blink a few times, and relax.
This is not this first time I have locked eyes with something wild.
It, for me, is always deeply rearranging experience.
My soul knows it is meeting intelligence, consciousness. But one that speaks such a different language, that beats to such a different rhythm than human.
And to feel that wild thing see me, too?
Well that I can’t describe, but it feels like the most intimate thing in the world.
Our gaze broke when his sibling and his mamma walked closer. He scampered off and went back to being a bear instead of, I dunno, God for a second.
I listened to them walk through the woods for a long time after.
I’ve had to learn to stop peering and straining to see, and remember that listening is “an encounter” too.
Then like 30 minutes later I heard a bunch of hissing and squawking outside, and looked just in time to see two ‘possums tumbling down the hill in a wild embrace that looked all teeth and big black eyes and fur like a winter storm.
It lasted for about 10 more minutes until Ms ‘possum had e-nough. She hauled ass through a culvert with Mr ‘possum in full pursuit.
She smoked him. I saw her strolling around by herself a little while later.
Anyway, that’s what’s going on at Darkwood.
It reminds me to honor my own nature and remember that I am an animal too.
And that you are an animal too.
Not just a vehicle for bossy know-it-all frontal lobes.
love & collaboration,