Archive for February 20th, 2008

Yesterday was an amazing day of wildlife sightings.  First, as I was driving out to work, five deer crossed my driveway in front of me.  Of course, I was late to work and had not planned to sit in my driveway at a dead stop while they decided whether or not it was safe to cross, but somehow, I just didn’t mind.  They moved so slowly and cautiously, watching me with those big, brown beautiful eyes, that my heartrate and breathing slowed for a minute while I sat in the silence and watched them back.  We were all there in that moment together, just me and the deer.  For those few moments, I forgot I was late to work.  Afterall, the deer were obviously not late for some appointment or conference call, so how could I be late?

Within the next five minutes, as I was taking the cut-through in a nearby subdivision and was stopped at a stopsign, I looked over to the sidewalk on my left, and sitting there, as calm as could be, was a red-tailed hawk.  Again, he was unconcerned with the passage of time and seemed to have nowhere else to be at that moment.   Just calm and serene, demonstrating all those raptor qualities that made hawking the sport of royalty.  He looked at me from the sidewalk as if to say, No… you are in my neighborhood.

As often as I see the wildlife out where I live, I never, never, get tired of it or too accostumed to it.  Just the sight of tracks left in the ground are enough to make me stop and investigate further.  An owl hooting in the woods will make me stop whatever I’m doing and listen with keen ears to hear his news.  As I’m sure that Bayou Woman can testify, there’s just something about being surrounded by the wild side of nature that speaks to my spirit and makes me think about my place in Creation.

I had planned on writing about my wildlife sightings when I arrived at the office, but alas, students and faculty were running around with their heads on fire and it seemed like I was the only one with a bucket of water….again.  So the moment passed.  And the further I got away from these serene but brief encounters, the less inclined I was to share them with you.  Once the proverbial manure hit the ocillating cooling device of the workplace, the serenity was pushed aside and just seemed too difficult to recall.

But my brush with wildlife for the day was not over!  In the wee hours of the morning, the serenity of nature was instantly replaced with the wildness of nature, and rather than calming me, it awoke primal fears in me that I had forgotten existed in my soul. 

A pack of coyotes started howling outside my bedroom window.

We have coyotes all over Georgia, and I’m used to hearing them in the distance.   As I’ve stated before in this blog, I actually enjoy the calls of the coyotes and consider it a blessing to hear them in the moonlight.  But last night was something completely different.

Alys, who usually sleeps next to me like a warm sack of flour, stood up and arched her back, growling for all her kitty-self was worth.  Abby alerted to the nearby danger and growled and barked menacingly at the bedroom door, lest the wild canines intruded on our inner sanctum.  And I laid there in the bed, frozen and listening to the sound and almost not breathing.  I had never heard the coyotes so close to the house….

Alys’ hackles were up.  Abby’s hackles were up.  My hackles were up.  I didn’t even know I had hackles.

Was Lia in the house?  Were they always that close and had I not noticed? Was Tony asleep?  Did he hear them? 

They stayed for such a long time, it seemed, calling out to their companions, and I could hear their footpads in the pine straw.  Then, one by one, they quieted down.  The howling ceased, and they moved away, back into the woods where I’ve always known they were, but never truly known they were.

Yesterday, Nature revealed Herself in all her glory.  The sun shining brightly.  The cool crisp air.  I experienced the serenity of Nature in the deer, the royalty of Nature in the hawk, and, as if to remind me, the wildness of Nature in the coyotes.  And in my midnight moments she awakened me, not only to the call of the coyotes, but to the wild instinct in me, so similar to the wild instinct in the animals that share my life.

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