Looking at animals, who look back at us, and who look with us, and who are also, ultimately, part of us... can tell us something... about how that which lies ‘beyond’ the human also sustains us and makes us the beings we are and those we might become.
— Eduardo Kohn, How Forests Think: Toward an Anthropology beyond the Human

Here's something I've noticed: When these blog posts are personal - a real exchange with the mysterious non-human people all around us, my inbox lights up. Thank you for helping me see this, again. Nothing linear can save us or nourish us. Not objects, not machines, not technology. There is no such thing as linear, anyway.

I don't know about you, but for me, most days are surreal. Uncertain in the extreme, and yet weirdly normal. Growing older, it just gets weirder, and sweeter, and more confounding. Life perpetually on the brink. And on this brink, the best medicine is often a tangible connection to the continuum of something larger - accessed, paradoxically, by noticing and interacting with the small and the particular.

I am often overwhelmed by the magnitude of what's happening to the planet, discouraged and frustrated by the lack of public and governmental response, in disbelief at the unreality of it, especially on a day like today: cold and clear but warm enough at midday to do yoga on the deck outside. As I lay on my back a bumblebee buzzed my ear and I reflexively flinched - old behaviors die hard, like habits of mind. The ocean is calm, and a ring of dark clouds adorns the horizon. There is a single plume of mist that might be a whale. I see the 'meadow' sprouting and the transplants slowly establishing themselves - daffodils, poppies, clover and rosemary, soggy borage, sage and lavender. Life knows what to do.

I hadn't seen our fox for over a week. I had been away for a few days. The night I got back, I debated about leaving any food. After all, she fends well for herself. Then again, we were having torrential rain and nights below freezing. I leaned into the wind and rain and left her a pear, a small apple, and some blackberries. In the morning, they were gone. I was both reassured and concerned. Why was she suddenly only coming in darkness? Was she injured? Maybe something larger was too close for comfort? The resident mountain lion, say, whose territory I live in. And this house at the edge, with its rickety fence and porous gate - just a frame with some rusted wire attached held in place with plastic ties and a bungee cord. Was she annoyed that I'd been away, and the snacks had stopped? I was surprised to find myself thinking this, that it even occurs to me to take her absence personally.

Then today, there she was, sitting calmly in the sun, looking perfectly resplendent. She doesn't run when she sees me now. She doesn't even startle. She just sits, calmly watching, even if I stand there and talk to her, which I sometimes do. I tell her that she's beautiful, that I'm glad to see her, that I love her, and that she has many friends among us humans. And I tell her to please be careful. Dear Creator/Mother, I say in my heart, Please prevent her from thinking that all humans are trustworthy.


Cynthia Travis2 Comments