The barking woke me out of a sound sleep. Both Yogi and Nora were frantically barking at a fever pitch that wouldn’t let up. I finally went down in the dark and let Yogi out of his crate while Nora paced furiously at the perimeter to the porch room, glancing at the clock as I went by. Only 11:30. I looked out into the moonlit meadow and knew there was something there, perhaps in the woods beyond, something that was whipping these dogs into such a frenzy, but I couldn’t see it. Both dogs finally relented and followed me upstairs. It was a touch and go night after this. Even with the windows now closed to the dropping temperature outside, I could hear the yapping in the distance which would set Yogi and Nora off again. Coyotes? I don’t know. But even the owls were singing a non-stop litany of who who who. Something was stirring the peace of the night. Some wild thing. They both jumped up on the bed and made significant body contact with me through the covers. Was this protection? Staying with me in such an uncharacteristic way only reinforced how the call of wild things can trigger an instinct that has nothing to do with love or devotion.
I’ve lived here almost three years, surrounded by wildlife management land, but this was the first time it has felt true. I wonder at the adaptation, of us to the land, and the creatures of this land to us. It has taken time to become familiars here, to let our voices be heard with such clarity. It’s like the insistent thoughts that have been slowly surfacing during our walks in the woods. The sad thoughts I don’t want to admit, thoughts that belie the joy of communion that I experience each time I am there. The thoughts that inevitably lead me to the realization that my true familiar right now is in my relationship with my dogs, the trees, and the elementals that grace this piece of the land. It is a thought that brings both exquisite pleasure and exquisite pain at the same time.
The sight of a lone stalk illuminated against a wall of pink tinged stone stopped me in my tracks the other day.
In the vastness of where we were, it was such a small moment, but it drew me close, resonating in the pit of my belly, the beauty of this singular mushroom calling to me to be seen, colliding with the question that had been at the edge of my mind. ‘Who is my person?’ I felt the pull to judge that there is no human being that fulfills this role in my life at the moment. But it was just this moment. It was just a thought after all. A thought that could change in a heartbeat if I let it.
I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of tea and conversation with a dear friend recently. This is a friend who has the ability to become ‘my person’ in the space of time we are together, to be present in a way that I imagine human beings can be intentionally present for one another. As we sipped our sweet chai, we caught up and shared about life with our loved ones who were not present with us in that moment, the challenges, the aches, the realizations, and the acceptances of being in relationship with loved ones. She shared about the way of relationship with her husband that allows her to make choices and grow in a conscious way. She said, ‘He doesn’t like mindful activity that is repetitive.’ We looked at each other wide-eyed, feeling the power of her combination of words. If there was ever a definition for ‘staying’ this was it. But it was her definition for staying. It was clear her husband was equally committed to staying, but by a very different definition that she didn’t understand. Still, he is her person in her chosen journey right now and it works.
The dogs are typically crazy first thing in the morning, racing around the dew soaked meadow, marking territory for the day, barking their presence. This morning was particularly intense, as if acknowledging the lingering energy of the call of the wild during the night, teasing them to find a peaceful way into this day. I focused on the image captured last evening as the sun was going down, of the two of them at the end of the day, together in their mastery of their domain after a day of re-claiming and being present to what is there.
It’s time for me to let my precious canine familiars be my person without judgement. Even during this challenging time of acclimating to energy of the wild encroaching on our space and the relentless barking that follows. We need to figure this out together. I want to learn from my relationship with them. I want to honor the importance of every moment of my time with them, in mindful activity that is repetitive in a way that lets them know I am truly here right now.