Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Be Still


It had been awhile since I had the chance to go to my sit spot. My spot out in nature where I reflect use my senses and explore nature. Today, I decided, after my amazing weekend with Jon Young, I needed to anchor myself and just be with nature. 

As I walk towards my spot, the cornfields have been harvested and look at all the remaining cobs on the ground that the animals had eaten. I was looking for tracks, but they were mostly washed away from the morning rain. 

I decided to turn off my brain, I usually bring my phone with me, but this time I made sure it stayed home. I didn't want any distractions. I followed that inner voice as to where I should sit, and I was drawn to the other side of the 200 paces circle I usually sit at. I passed the big walnut tree and then past the tall towering spruce tree to a pair of smaller spruce trees with a fallen tree beside it with raspberry canes growing over it and some bushes. I will have to find out what kind of bush it is. 

As I walk closer I startle a flock of morning doves. There were about 20 of them that shot up into the trees from the ground and near by trees. My presence is announced and so I settle in with my back on the spruce tree and I sit and wait for the forest to calm back to its original peace. 

I watch the morning doves, working to move my body in a comfortable position so I can stay still and stay warm at the same time. I should have brought full mitts, so I squeeze my fingers between my legs to keep warm. I start my sense meditation and in the crisp cool air, I hear the little coos of the doves as they flutter from branch to branch and hear a "chew-teepee" call of a bird beside me that I can't find. Using just my eyes to search where the call is coming from, I can't quite find it. Then blue jays fill the air with a "jay, jay" call. I am feeling there is so much action going on I can't decide whom to watch: the doves, the jays, find out who is making that noise? So I calm again, and unfocused my eyes so that I can see all around me, in my peripheral and listen with my ears to the sounds around me and just take it all in. To stop thinking of what I am seeing and just absorb. 

In the corner of my eye I see movement up a tree and follow that movement to a gray squirrel following a black one. It is like they are playing follow the leader with the gray one always following. Then another black one cuts in-between them and now it is three of them following the leader. This new squirrel jumps to another tree with the second black one about to follow when you can see he rethinks that jump. Second black squirrel takes a different route and follows. The gray squirrel patiently waits for them to come back down. 

All the while, I am noticing the morning doves are a little edgy. Some of them on the outskirts of the forest fly further in to the forest. I wait to see why, but nothing is revealed. I lose track of the squirrels and just settle in and turn my head to look into the bushes. I hear a dove moving to the North of me and turn my head. There, 5 feet from me, my eyes meet with a beautiful morning dove. We look at each other, and then she is off. It was too close for her comfort. 

Then, I hear a little russelling and notice one of the black squirrels had made its way over to where I was sitting and it was looking for nuts/seeds. I remain as still as possible. Not moving even though my nose started to itch. (Doesn’t that always happen)? It comes closer and closer to me until it is about 5 feet away from me when it stops dead in its tracks. Eyes big looking at me. I am out of place. It knew that I was not supposed to be there and it jumps back. But it is very curious and comes back towards me again. All I was thinking was, this is very cool if it will come right up to me and think of me as part of the tree. And then thought, hope it doesn't bite me. LOL

So it starts to flick its tail and make a small quiet chip sound as it inspects me. I remain still, not moving anything but my eyes. Does it notice my eyes? It slowly makes its way to the spruce tree beside me and gets to a higher advantage point where it started to make grunting and kissing noises at me. I can no longer see it in my peripheral so I switch to using my ears. I am picturing it sitting on the trunk of the tree looking at me, flicking it tails making those noises. In the corner of my other eye, I see another squirrel that has come to it's friend's aid to keep an eye on me and is 20 feet in another tree looking at me and flicking its tail. This goes on for 15 minutes. The black squirrel, I have now named George for his curiosity, had climbed up the spruce tree I am leaning against and is above my head. I see the hanging branch above me move and I think... oh my... it is going to climb on my head. But it doesn't. 

Instead the forest bursts in action as almost 50 morning doves all take flight at once and fly to the other side of the forest. The burst of energy makes me want to fly, but I remain motionless to see what caused it. The squirrel gets bored of me and heads off on his regular routine and that is when I see the cause of the alarm.... a large bird flies in front of me, about 20 feet onto a lower branch. It is about the size of a crow, maybe a bit bigger. I don't have my glasses on so can't make out details. So you are the one who sent off the alarm with the morning doves... so what are you? What kind of raptor are you? You have a white breast with black speckles... can't really make out a band, but that really doesn't mean anything. Your hooked beak and majestic stance on the branch as you look away doesn't really give too much away. Then it looks to the East and takes off and I see a bright red tail! Whoooo, my friend has returned! Buteo is back! 

The forest returns to a quiet calm and I decide it is time I head back home. Thankful for all I had experienced today and the gift of all the encounters. 

Until next time, I hope to connect with George again and see Buteo again.