Friday, December 16, 2016

Going To Church


     My antidote for discontent, whatever its name, is usually a walk in the open air for me. It isn't the walk that is important, it is the air; the wide sky, the sounds and scents of nature's complicated dance. Yesterday, though surprisingly cold all at once, was a day which demanded I leave the house and take a wider view. I required a letting go.  
    As you can see, the fountain is a winter sculpture now and orange fish hang motionless beneath its glaze of ice.  I let the chickens out to wander and feed (and received a scolding from them for leaving them 'cooped up' for so long....the little dears.)
     The oil well road was a maze of deer tracks, and dried corn stalks in the west field sang like a mountain stream.  I stood staring at it, knowing it to be dried shocks, yet could hear only the melodies of water over stone.  Incredible.
     My renter has never left the field unworked through the winter before and I thought about asking him for the why of it, but didn't, having realized this second growth crop would make wonderful cover and fodder for all manner of wild creatures in the coming months of cold and scarcity. I have seen a pair of pheasants wandering across the road already and there are deer tracks everywhere. 
     
My female cat came with me to the woods, which is strange, they usually always travel as a pair, my two black shadows.  I thought her brother might come find us eventually but he didn't ever show.  She and I wandered down to the creek to listen and to watch the water run. White ice rimmed the edges, mirroring my own inner disquiet about things; so obvious an image I had to laugh out loud. Sometimes nature is very subtle in its teachings and other times it is plain as day. 
     I turned and began searching for what I call the 'love tree', those two trees that have grown together through time and contact. It's still there, but has lost a branch or two to time and ice. While I stood there next to it, a Mockingbird flew straight past me through the woods. I never see Mockingbirds in the woods, only in my gardens where they serenade me all Spring and Summer. They are my favorite of all my feathered friends, because they are so full of music. This one today was a rare blessing, as welcome as a kiss and a smile to a heavy heart.
     I sat down beneath one of the Grandfather Cottonwoods, out of the wind but within earshot of the creek, closed my shining eyes and let the earth ease my shoulders, slow my heart and clear my head; deep breaths and time, working their magic. The signal Cardinal did not even call out a warning.  Perhaps because I was wearing his colors as notice to any hunters who might have been abroad.  'Tis the season, after all.   
   The cat sat watch upon my chest, her ears and eyes alert, her warm self covering my gloveless hand.  What a dear she is.  There were coyote hunters in their pickups on the roads today, so I imagine the woods were full of everything that can be hunted. But they and I alike were very still, seeking shelter.

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