One of the great things about our cats is how they alert us to visitors in the yard. This morning, Billie suddenly leaned over into the bedroom window, all focused attention, and then she hurried off to the kitchen. I looked out the window, and then I too ran to the kitchen–to look out the French door windows to the back. We had both seen a raccoon, walking right onto our deck, checking things out.
Sadly, this was not a great nature photo–I didn’t capture the raccoon’s adorable face. And when they saw us at the window, they decided to move along, leaving only small wet footprints behind. I barely caught their distinctive striped tail as they hurried past on their way toward the steps to the driveway.
The Passamaquoddy word for raccoon is Espons, and it means the one who leaves a mess. I pulled on my boots to go outside to see if Espons had left any messes anywhere in our garden–but the only thing I found was a tiny hole dug into the side of our compost barrel. It looks like that compost is ready.
I think this is the first time I’ve seen a raccoon in the yard, though I saw one in a tree down by the brook a while back. As much as Margy and I love to play in the soil, plant trees and bushes, and tend to the growing plant life all around us, the most thrilling part of connecting to this land is when the critters visit us.
Many small birds and squirrels live here all the time, but we’ve also seen turkeys, a very occasional deer (and not in the last year), the skunk, the groundhog, a few chipmunks, the fox, the hawks, the turkeys (they visit a lot–though not this spring–they must be raising young somewhere else right now), not to mention tiny toads and salamanders. I call them visitors, but really, we share this urban environment. They live here as much as we do–but not usually on the deck! We try to find a balance between welcoming them, and reserving certain garden foods as our own “territory.” (Since we don’t yet have much food in the perennial food forest we’ve been slowly creating, it hasn’t yet been a big issue.)
I am reminded somehow, by the joy of this unexpected visit, that my spiritual “marching orders” during this past cycle of seasons have been rather clear. I was not to try to “make magic”–which I understand as to focus my intention and will to create something or to make change in this world. Rather, I was to flow with the already flowing magic of the deeper River, to let the Earth move my feet, let the Wind guide my mind. I was to rest, and let the Fire of joy carry me through the days. That joy has carried me into some marvelous learning–the Wabanaki language class comes to mind. That joy has carried me out into the garden to plant and tend and haul wood chips around. That joy has carried me to the pages of this blog site, to write and reflect. But it isn’t really about creating a garden or a blog.
It is about observing, being quiet, listening to the trees, tuning in to the flow of interconnected life. It is about moving beyond doing into a different way of being. A way that is alert to the many beings who visit us, whether we notice them or not. It is about noticing.