Life, death, and our entitlement to nothing…

“If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve.”
~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

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I am attached. To birth, beauty, wonder, awe, love and laughter, to all the precious awarenesses that electrify and fill me with aliveness. We are in a season energized with new life. We feel it when we walk in the woods, when the deep green around us permeates and feeds us to our bones. This fawn, and her mama, were in our backyard a few days ago.

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Deer are a common sight in Boulder. We love them, watch them, make way for them, sometimes help them, and protect them as much as we can around here. They are a symbol of the natural balance we work so hard to achieve, a gentle remedy that cures us of our own human-ness for the few short moments we watch them pass by. If we are truly conscious, we understand these little moments are the precious ones we live for.

The following day …

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She was lying under our apple tree in our backyard, near the creek.  I was stunned when I saw her. The thick weight of sadness grew heavy in my chest, and I could feel myself sinking deeper into the soft earth. I have no idea how she died, but her body was without injury and as beautiful as it was the day she was born.

Life and death are not so far apart as we think. We tend to think in terms of years, when we need to be thinking in terms of moments–precious, fleeting, impermanent moments.

After finding her, I ran inside, found my smudge wand, then sat down quietly beside her. I offered love, prayer, and gratitude to the Mother for the short time we had with her. I was reminded that despite what we might think we are owed in this life, we are entitled to nothing. Birth does not entitle any of us to a long, healthy life, it never has. What we are given are chances, chances to discover that life is fully lived in the moments we are awake and paying attention, and each one is a gift not to be taken for granted.

It is difficult to remember this every day, to not get caught in the nettings of our human mind and to-dos, to not be so hard on ourselves, to want more than what we already have, to not judge each other, and assume we have time to make amends. To embrace death so close to the bosom, and sit with knowing we may be far closer to our last breath than we ever imagined is intense, and exhausting. But I believe it is this very intensity that allows us to wriggle free. It is this vulnerability that allows us to dance with abandon, belly laugh out loud, and see the wonder and awe in anything and everything. It is this wide-eyed wakefulness that allows us to roar “YES!!!!” and say thank you, thank you, thank you.…”

With love,
Misa

EPILOGUE:

I soon learned that the fawn beneath our apple tree was not the fawn I had seen the previous day. Shortly after sitting down with this fawn, I felt the presence of something to my right. I looked over and it was the mother, the same mother I had seen the day before. She stared at me intently as I slowly backed away from her fawn and walked back up onto the deck. I then saw another movement out of the corner of my eye. Another fawn, trotted over to the mother, the same fawn I had seen the day before, and sibling to the one that had died. This mother deer had two babes.

They had come back to check on the one that no longer lived. I cannot accurately describe the emotions I felt in those moments. A spiritual and emotional concoction of compassion, sadness, awe, elation, revelation, wonder, reality, gratitude, and gravity. What I witnessed was the beginning and the end all at once, life and death in full bloom. The three of us held each other’s gaze, in curiosity, intensity, and for me, complete and utter love, compassion and reverence. I could only hope that their higher developed senses could receive and feel all I was sending.

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Wolf song

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Their howls woke me just before daybreak while moonlight and stars still swept the sky. They always begin the same way. One wolf raises her voice to the heavens and the others soon follow in unison, filling the valley with a most beautiful, haunting wolf song. As I laid in the old, borrowed, pop-up camper listening to their soulful howls, something stirred inside, like cosmic dust shifting deep within my bones, calling for remembrance of a wildness lost long ago. By the time their song quieted and the hush of the valley lifted with first daylight, an intense need lay prominent in the silence, a need for the connection between their ancient, native language and my very own.
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A wolf’s eyes are piercing and penetrating, colored by a depth that can break through any masks draped by ego and fear. Perhaps this is why the wolves draw so many people to the sanctuary. Perhaps this is why people of all kinds come to stay, work and volunteer at Mission: Wolf for months, even years at a time. The wolf embodies raw, primal wildness and holds no pretense, no lies or falseness like the kind our society so readily provides. All kinds of people stay at the sanctuary working for the wolves, many of them seeking healing, truth and integrity, bound by an unspoken desire to be seen as they really are–flawed, yet infinitely wild and free.

“To look into the eyes of a wolf is to see your own soul.” ~ Aldo Leopold

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Wolves, in the Native American tradition, are deeply respected as powerful teachers and guides. They are intelligent, social, and free spirited animals, loyal to their lifelong mates and to their strict, pack order. Most Native American cultures would never think of killing a wolf. A wolf is their kindred spirit, a brother and sister. Having watched these beautiful animals play, nuzzle, and greet humans with friendship, it’s hard to think of them as the terrible predator that they’ve been targeted as. What makes me sorrowfully ill is the existence of people and websites that promote the hunting of wolves for sport, claiming them to be the “top predator of the Northern Rockies”. Oh the irony…I say look again sirs.

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As with most of Earth’s wildness, somehow we have come to believe that if we can tame something, we can possess it, and by possessing it we can do what we want with it. Human affliction is obsession with possession. The pain and repercussions of the lies we tell ourselves is felt by every living thing on this planet. Slowly, the language of our own wildness has been lost, pushed far beyond recognition. The reality of this lies before us every single day. People have been breeding wolf and wolf/dog pups for years, selling them to humans who want to possess them as a pet. The friendly nature of wolf pups can have people fooled. Soon they learn that the independent spirit of a wolf cannot be tamed, contained or owned liked dogs. As the pups grow and mature, problems arise, particularly if genetically they are more wolf than dog. Wolf and hybrid owners eventually lose control of their pets, causing them to be euthanized or shot unless a sanctuary can adopt them. Wolf sanctuaries like Mission: Wolf exist to save these pet wolves and hybrids if they can. More often then not, pet wolves and hybrids are turned away due to lack of space and limited resources. Mission: Wolf, named in reference to the movie title Mission Impossible, has the primary goal to eliminate the need for wolf sanctuaries. People like Kent Weber, the founder, are trying to make amends for human error by making a difference. Healing for our human recklessness in every sense, can begin with just one person–or one animal inspiring us to do the same.

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On the day I met wolves, I didn’t know I would find myself looking into a mirror. I didn’t know that a wolf could reach into my soul and pull pieces I’ve left un-mended, challenge a truth I’ve left un-attended. I walked away from those wolves wanting deeply to change that truth, and become something entirely different, something already coded inside with a divine, primal right to embody my own bold and wild soul.

It was the afternoon of our first day when Kent sat us in a circle before entering the Ambassador wolves’ enclosure. Mission: Wolf trains certain wolves who particularly enjoy human company as Ambassador wolves. Ambassador wolves travel the country educating groups about wolves, allowing people to meet them, touch them, and hopefully understand them better. Currently, there are three, Abraham, Zeab, and Magpie. On this day, we were a group of approximately 15 visitors, some having had the privilege of meeting these wolves before. Kent explained that a wolf’s nature is not like a dog’s. Most dogs seek your attention and approval, needs it even, but not a wolf. In a wild setting, wolves are afraid of humans and will hide from them. In a setting like the the sanctuary, where they see and interact with humans regularly, they do not feel any obligation to humans. In daily relationships with humans, wolves will begin to treat them as another wolf, including disciplining them, seeking order and rank just as they do in a pack. Wolves must earn the respect of another wolf in order to be in their family, their pack, and a human is no different.

Wolves can sense deep fear, insecurity, instability, just as they can sense strength and confidence. In other words, they know immediately how a person feels about him or herself and will treat them accordingly. If you see your self as less than an alpha, so will they. Kent also let us know that wolves love small children and feel protective of them. They often will approach children first, sniff them, inspect them, even lick them. I don’t find this unusual, younger children have little need for self doubt as their wonderful, wild spirits shine through their skin, still unspoiled by the confines of ego. The wolves see this and are drawn to it. So am I….

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Wolves depend fully on a social order that is dynamic all the time. The one they truly need acceptance from is their alpha, their leader. They are drawn to alphas and will look for them in a group of humans such as we were. They greet the young children first, then the alphas, then move down the rank. Kent told us that as we walk in to the enclosure, walk in tall and confident, like we could care less there were wolves among us. He told us to not to appear needy or wanting of their attention because if we do, we will be ignored. In a culture where humans hunger and crave attention, recognition, praise, approval, acceptance and the need to be “chosen” so we can feel our own self worth, it can be difficult to pretend indifference to be chosen by a wolf. What Kent didn’t tell us and what I soon realized, was that pretending was useless. Within minutes of being in that enclosure, acting was utterly unnecessary. The wolves knew, just by walking by, how you felt about yourself. They could sense in an instant if you were trying to be something you were not, or something you weren’t sure you could be. For me, the challenge was just trying to muster authentic, self confidence, it did not come naturally. In that moment, the truth of my insecurities rushed to the surface exposing my weaknesses. I felt naked and I knew, I knew as I walked in grappling with those feelings, a wolf would not find the alpha in me, because I could not find it either.

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In a culture where our worth is based on what we think we own and possess, our titles, and our degrees, and how we think we are perceived, it is easy to confuse what our true worth is with what we acquired both materially and egotistically. Wolves cut through the bull with one look. They can see right through you and leave you exposed and vulnerable with feelings you thought you had buried, or even worse–could live with without repercussion. And herein lies the lifelong journey to answer the questions that surface in all of us. Is it possible to strip away the burden that keeps us weighed heavy and hollow? Can we find the self acceptance, love and forgiveness needed to be the strong, confident, self-assured alphas we all have the capability of being? What keeps us down? What keeps us afflicted? What keeps us from finding the worthy treasures hidden within?

“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?…The universe buries strange jewels within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert Big Magic

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It’s been nearly three months since our trip to Mission: Wolf and I can tell you that in that time I have accepted the challenge of excavating my raw, authentic voice. Daily, I face unforgiving mirrors and embrace my weaknesses before transforming them into strengths. I continue to climb every edge and stand at high noon, inviting failure to be another badge of courage. I am answering the primal call to seek and unearth the alpha. I can tell you that I have faced fearlessly the parts in me that have kept me tethered to ego and fragility, challenging the need for approval from anyone but my own powerful voice. I can tell you there is little use for coincidence when divine energy knows you want to abolish the shackles that binds the wildness hidden within. I am stepping into the skin that has been waiting for me and I am no longer afraid of my purpose. I am raising my voice to the heavens, answering the wolf’s howl with my own undaunted, gritty, and beautifully wild wolf song.

Much love

XOXO

Tracing tracks

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I know, it’s still summer, but the season’s permissive laze and daze has snuck out quietly and left us. Autumn’s invigorating breath has found her way into our mornings and soon I will don my fuzzy slippers, robe, and plan soups for dinner. Like many, we are into school schedules and events, after school chauffeuring, teacher meetings, Fall trips and volunteering. I look back and remember where we last left the hurry. Tracing the tracks we’ve left behind, I touch with fondness the moments that made these last few months memorable.

I started teaching dance at a beautiful studio a little over a month ago, not traditional dance like tap or ballet, but heart-centered, choreographed dances that pull from all styles to inspire soul, emotion, awareness and freedom. It’s a dance made for anyone and everyone, no formal experience required. This is the manifestation of a dream–to call myself a dancer and share my love of dance by teaching. “Inconceivable” is what I would have told you 10 years ago. Truth: The rules we live by in this world can often feel unyielding, but to challenge them, un-define and re-define them, we can surprise ourselves by becoming something completely unexpected. My choreography now unfolds on a wooden dance floor spilling from a well of creative freedom that I knew existed, but never tapped openly until now. Teaching, leading a class, and exposing my heart and creativity to be judged and used by others has brought me to challenge and question the necessity of old insecurities. I see it now and I find myself peeling again.

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This month, in Issue 5 of Bella Grace Magazine, a piece I wrote was published. For a few weeks now I’ve let this soak in, and thoughts of my father have surfaced again. I am so different from the daughter he knew before he died 17 years ago, before I began healing, before I became wife and mother, before I began my climb out of the many shells that kept my soul hidden. Yet, somehow I know I am the woman he always knew I’d become. I use to resent the goals he once had for me, like the one where I would be an engineer or the one where I would go to military school, but I understand those really weren’t the dreams he had for me. What he wanted more than anything was that I just try for the things I wanted most, that I believe in myself, and find what true happiness is. And those dreams, Dad, have come true. Perhaps this joy is fleeting, perhaps the next big catastrophe is around the corner, but for today these tracks are very real, and they are, gratefully, all my own.

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The last thing I wanted to share just happened this past weekend over Labor Day, our family’s camping and volunteering trip to a wolf sanctuary here in Colorado. I will write an entire post on how deeply this experience affected me. Wolves, truly, are one of the best teachers this earth could have ever graced us with. The problem is that generally wolves are seen as a threat to man and livestock and, by stories, movies, and misconceptions, thought to be mean, menacing, and aggressive animals. This is false and documentaries such as “Living With Wolves” and The Wolves of Yellowstone serve to educate those who will listen about the gentle and social nature of wolves, as well and their importance to our ecosystem. But this is only a micron of what I personally learned from meeting a wolf, and, as I look a little closer, flows not at all surprisingly with the undercurrent of my latest lessons on strength of character and how true we are to our spirit. This, I will share in a new post sooner than later, but for now, a glimpse…meet Zeab.

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Much love to you
XOXO

100 sails

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I am so happy to be sitting here in this space writing to you. I have thought of this blog often in the last several weeks, and of the many women that I have met yet haven’t met, thanks to the blogosphere. The many women and men who pour their hearts and words out and bring light to others by doing so. How grateful I am for each of them. As I think about what I want to write and share with you, I must say that change has arrived on a ship with 100 sails, and with it the call to act, to light fires and no longer rest in the cracked bellows of stagnation.

For years I have turned motherhood over and over in my hands until it has tumbled smooth like stone. Gratefully, I know this role will never end, not really. But I have turned another corner in motherhood and I can say with all sincerity that there is now room for something more. I have given my all to my family. I am a better mother. I am a better wife. I am a better friend. I am a better human being. And most importantly, I am not finished, far from it.

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In the last several months, I have spent time thinking and dreaming about what comes next. I have been in this zone before, yet something feels different. Maybe it’s the remarkable women I’ve been spending time with online and off. Maybe it’s the intentions I’ve set just a few weeks ago, taking the time to write exactly what I want and how I am going to get there. Maybe it’s been certain events that have called me to action, to perhaps get my OT license back, or get certified as a dance instructor, and to write my heart out and share it with strangers everywhere. Maybe I’m just getting older and there is no better time than now to take more risks.

The bottom line is the earth beneath my feet is shifting, the soil is ripe for planting, and I have more courage than I have had in years. I have no other recourse than to utilize this energy and give it back, give it back with all I have.

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“We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness.”~ unknown

I am obsessed with sunrises. They bring beauty, hope, energy, inspiration and a new painted canvas every morning. For just those few minutes, the sunrise is my silent meditation, and facing east I make my intentions to begin fresh and new, with faith and gratitude for that moment and the next.

January is nearly over and it was my springboard, so let it begin.
Won’t you join me? What are your intentions this year?

Much love to you
xoxo

October

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It’s finally happening–the painstaking gaze from without to within. The simple pour that this thirsty soul has been begging for; the welcome tingle of blood flowing back to numbed skin.

It feels good to shed again.
Lifted by the spirits that surround me,
swept by the leaves that fell before me,
and re-awakened by the universe that carries me–
I am here.

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October, October, god how I love October. She shook my bones and hollowed out the core. She gave to me by taking from me the materials that I sometime confuse as necessary. A new car damaged, an expensive camera lost, a windshield cracked, a vision obscured by nonsense. I have finally let them go and now I can see my own hands again.

And then there is this–this dark, beautiful package that arrived early in October.

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She is Cici and she is bountiful energy and unharnessed joy. She has given me gifts called “reminders” that things are never as heavy as they seem.

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I’ve loved the autumn that Colorado has given us this year. October fades behind her colors, leaving only the scent of her natural shift. Renewed and re-spirited, a creative flow presses through with eagerness and might against the walls that have held her captive–a slow awakening on the edges of winter’s hibernating call.

Goodbye October, and thank you.

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Happy Halloween and much love to you all…
xoxo

Collecting

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I am watching my life in stories. Some words have been written on paper, but lately collected pictures have become the narrator. I string the details together like a popcorn garland, then line them end to end along the walls I call my world. Details like…

Like the day we hiked like madmen only to be stalled and softened by a nest of baby nuthatches in the hollow of a pine tree.
Like the day we saw a small murder of crows perched on naked, gray branches to keep watch over the city.
Like the afternoon she made me a dandelion taco as the rays broke through the shroud of a clouded sunset.
Like the day we walked Goss Grove, found Christopher Walken’s green head on a snail’s body and the yellow and purple house of wildflowers I want to live in when I’m 60.
Like the day we saw the man in the mountain exhale into the sky.

I complain of time moving quickly but each precious moment leaves a palm print, just like the ones we leave on glass. We spend our days thinking of what we need, what we want, and what we hope to have, burning time away like melted wax when the truth is, we receive all the time. We miss them—the palm prints—we look right through them, because what we want always seems to be on the other side of the glass.

Meanwhile, I rock my collected stories in cradles like newborn babes, wondering what they will be when they grow up, waiting for that perfect time to cut the strings. Maybe all along, just like my children, they are ready far quicker than I am ready to let go. One day, despite myself, they will become something all on their own.

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much love to you

xoxox

Here and there

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All this is here and there in a month. The Great Escape Mustang sanctuary, the Eagle Plume museum and store, the Broadmoor hotel, the glories of Spring…. I am reminded often of why I named the blog as I did. Wandering never really stops and my thirst for exploring remains unquenchable.

In a couple days, we step out of school sneakers and into flip flops, water shoes, and summer break. Soccer practices and tournaments, piano recitals, school field trips and volunteering will now be replaced with summer camps, weekend excursions and barbeques. I welcome it. I welcome the laziness of pools, the saunter of hot days, tubing on the creek and badminton on our dandelion lawn. I am also wholly and heartily welcoming 43 on Saturday. I learned long ago that happiness can only be present when realized. I have all that I will ever need.

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Below are the 3 baby robins we have been watching grow over the last few weeks. They each flew from their nest one morning last week and have yet to return. We were able to witness their first flight into the world and thus experienced the true meaning of “empty nest syndrome”. Flutters was the biggest, strongest and the first to fly, then Malcolm came next. Hiccup, the last, took his time, and though still unsteady and a little unsure of himself, made it across the lawn. We miss them, but this is the magic of birth and the approaching close of Spring.

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I just finished taking Pitch Perfect, an online class on how to pitch articles and ideas to magazines and more. It’s a wonderfully thorough class for any writer interested in taking their work beyond the blog pages or their laptops. As much as I liked the idea of monetizing writing or shaking my words onto widespread, paper pages across lands and oceans, I don’t know if I am one of those writers–at least not at this point in my life. Perhaps maybe never. For now, the blog is enough, and coming here to share words is joy and a category all its own. Thank you for that. Thank you for reading or even just stopping by.

much love to you
xoxo

Tangents

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“Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lately, the currents have lead to unexpected tangents, where thinking less and instinctively flying more is necessary. Hence, I have found freedom in the busiest days. I am busier than I have been in years actually, making the quiet moments blissfully and guiltlessly enjoyed.

The house is still this morning. Both boys are gone, the son is in Catalina on a school trip and the husband is in Florida on a business trip. The girl and I have giggled in delight knowing we have a whole week with just each other. So far we have read together, colored together, watched movies, played on the swing, talked about birds, watched them make nests (Mrs. Twitters you will meet later), and plan on making paper flowers. She should be at school today but a cold has kept her home, and between you and me, I am more than okay with that ;-).
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I just finished reading Stephen King’s Dr. Sleep. If you are a Stephen King fan, you won’t be disappointed. His memoir On Writing is next but for now I am reading Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks, a random book picked up a few months ago. The author is a former teacher, a 3 time Moth storySlam winner, and a manager of a McDonalds. I love this author already.
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Birds. You may or may not know I am captivated by them. I am slowly massaging my future as a full time birdwatcher, carefully listening to their calls, marking my bird book with the ones I have identified. I have a post in drafts all about the ones I’ve seen lately, and titled the post “Messengers”. I also, not every day but most days, draw from animal Medicine cards. These are my absolute favorite cards for daily inspiration and focus. Every single one I pull has something to teach me, and would you believe that most of the ones I pull are bird cards? It’s okay if you don’t. Sometimes I hardly believe it myself. Here is what I pulled this very morning:
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The Hawk card is the messenger card, a card about being aware of the signals in our life–“to notice and receive them”. Sometimes coincidence isn’t enough.
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A Robin couple has come back to nest at the house this Spring. Mr. Twitters (what we decided to call them) is who I met first. He has the face of an older, wiser Robin. He would sit on watch like a sentinel, his bright, orange chest puffed full and round, then circle the backyard onto the roof. He has beautiful markings don’t you think?
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I realize now that the nest we had to move last year when the house was repainted was theirs. No matter, Mrs.Twitters began working quickly a few days ago in the exact same spot the old one was.
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Remarkable, truly.

I hope you are able to follow some tangents today, just let them lead you to someplace unexpected. Sometimes, it almost feels like flying…

Much love to you on this Tuesday…

xoxox

wide awake and wild

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I took one small step closer, cautious, curious and completely aware that all he had to do was take one powerful leap in my direction to spear me with those handsome antlers of his. His watchful, deep black eyes were on me. Though his munching jaws would seem to say that he could care less about my presence, we both knew better.
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This was the first of three encounters I had with wild animals this past weekend. The second was with the Gray Jay. We were over 9500ft. high having snowshoed nearly 2 hours into the southern heart of the Rocky Mountains. There was no wind, just the blinding whiteness that comes with fresh snowfall. The sound of our feet in deep snow and my breathe from climbing in it provided the haunting rhythm to keep placing one foot in front of the other. It was not an easy climb to Emerald Lake, but when we reached it, I understood wholly the meaning of the phrase “deafening silence”. Surrounded by jagged spears of rock resembling a crown, I would have fallen to my knees in reverence had I not already felt dwarfed in the mountain’s majesty.

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(If it helps to understand scale in this novice photo, please look at the tiny black dot at the base of the mountains on the right. That dot is a person.)

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After a few awe-inspiring minutes of quiet, I was startled by a low swoosh that came from behind and flew directly above my head. She landed on a branch 15 feet from me, looked at me while cocking her fluffy head, imploring me to see her, to be mindful of her. She wanted my attention and she found it. She posed left, then right, then looked at me again to make sure I was still watching. I worked quickly to get my camera out again, but she waited patiently, long enough for me to rattle off at least 10 shots before she flew back in the direction she came from. She, like the Elk, felt tame in ways that didn’t seem plausible. An unspoken language passed between us, one that I had forgotten, one that I might have understood again if I could have stayed there in that space with her just a little longer.

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The last encounter was with two foxes. My husband spotted them first on our return to Rocky Mountain National Park the next morning. They were fast and they were less willing to take chances with a human like the other two. I jumped out of the car with the camera and ran to the edge of the meadow that they had run into. I followed them with my lens, first one, then two, too far to get good details thanks to the autofocus on my camera. There was no time to switch to manual, no time to play with light and catch the glint in their mysterious eyes. They were gray and they were very smart, dancing along and pacing the meadow, watching me to see what I would do next. They never left or ran away too far. As I walked back to the car, they got closer, comfortable with knowing that I was leaving their domain, their protected space that I was invading, that we all invaded long ago.

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These wild animals are medicine to me, a balm to the coldness that comes with our reality and domestication. Once I dip in and wander among the messages these creatures provide, I find myself in the folds of something bigger. I awaken knowing that we are not so different. We are both dependent on the environment that surrounds us, both dependent on the the earth that provides for us, both hungering for a language that connects us all, both free and not free, bound by instinct, duty and limitations, both extremely fragile and weak at the helms of the unknown.

On a crystal clear yet windy morning, on our last snowshoe trail in the tall pines and bare-boned trees, I found a mark on an aspen, a mark left by someone that did not know it would be meant for me. I stopped to pull off my gloves and dug for the cameraphone in my snowpants pocket. A wind gust rushed in lifting the snow off their feet to sparkle and swirl in the air behind, just in time for me to take the shot. And I did take it, all of it. I am not sure when I will be back there again, but I will remember. I will remember how it felt to be wide awake and wild with the spirit of the earth.

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much love to you fellow earthwalkers…
xoxo

passage

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I went on a hike with the kids yesterday looking for birds to watch, photograph or draw. It felt like spring here, gorgeous blue skies and people out everywhere. I picked the wrong trail to hike on though and instead of looking up for birds, we spent most of our time looking down, trying not to slip on ice, mud and slush. Treasures do still exist no matter where you look, and among the wet leaves and ash gray branches we found delicately dessicated seed pods, rusted, mint-green pipes, and abandoned birdnests clinging valiantly to bare-boned bushes. Near the end, three black-capped chickadees cheerfully crossed our path on their way to taking a slushy, mud bath. They were the only three birds we spotted on that hike.

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I find so many answers by stumbling on the evidence that nature leaves behind. The stunning intrigue of hollow pods and empty nests, nothing new to nature but profound to those of us that desperately cling to what once was or what will soon be lost. Would it be any easier to say goodbye if we knew what’s on the other side was better, even transcendent? Nature tirelessly cycles season to season, from birth to death, or is it death to birth, reminding us over and over again to not be afraid, to employ the remarkable senses we’ve been given, to inhale all of it and mark our moments, knowing that we must eventually exhale and let it go before starting all over again. How often do I catch myself holding my breath, greedily trying to store what I am or what I think I know for safe keeping, too naive–or afraid to release to a higher purpose I am not suppose to understand, not yet.

I think about these things as I walk in the woods on muddy trails and dead leaves, when I think of friends fighting cancer for their beautiful and remarkable lives, when I think of an uncle who has fought the odds for years, knowing there are time bombs ticking in his head. Despite all the knowledge we’ve attained, what lies beneath everything is an inherent, instinctive will to survive. Our most essential and primary purpose. We fight for what we have, we fight for the ones we love, we fight for our lives no matter what is on the other side. We fight until we can’t anymore, until Nature rests its heavy hand on our shoulder and tells us it’s time to let go. Until then, everything thing we walk through is a passage gilded in hope, faith and courage, a bridge built by the lives we’ve spent a lifetime to create. In hollow pods and empty nests, in the crisp, cruel winters that try to knock us down, the will to carry on remains.

thinking of the umber dove, my uncle, and all those who fight,

much love to you all

xoxo

prettysky