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Country Mouse Monday: meditation for animal-nerds

Yesterday was one of those days that made me feel like I was finally home. I've been physically home from Paris since Friday night, but yesterday made me feel like I had finally landed home in my own skin after an absence longer than my trip to France.

I love, love, love summer when it begins but by August a weariness sets in, a kind of heat-fatigue that makes a crepuscular being of me. 

But yesterday? Yesterday scooped me up and took me straight home.

It only occurs to me now that I felt that way because I spent the day in the trees mostly, with animals. I spent the day observing, rather than thinking, and boy, did I ever need that.

The usual hike to the redwoods across the street got a make-over yesterday morning, as Joe showed me a new path to several new (unseen by me) small groves. Along the way we found a rusted-up camp stove which the interwebs says dates to 1925, and plenty of signs of all the others who still live there, like the dusky-footed woodrats with their crazy man-high nests. 

But the thing about the hike was that we were not on trails -- instead we were on slopes that trigger my nerves. That are outside my comfort zone & require me to just look and go. I needed that.

Observe. Don't Think.

Then home for a few hours for some quick harvest, second breakfast, and hang-out before heading out to the big event of the day.




Yesterday we attended TALONS, A Festival Celebrating Birds of Prey, a fundraiser for the Hungry Owl Project, for whom you may remember that I volunteered last summer, feeding owls at the hackbox at Marin Art & Garden Center. I was so excited to attend, since the festival promised demonstrations with live birds.

And it was everything I'd hoped for.

clockwise from top center: barn, spectacled, screech, great horned, eagle & pygmy owls. We strolled around on the lovely Marin Art & Garden Center grounds, watched falconry demonstrations, wingtips brushing our heads, and sat in the grass with the kids and beheld the remarkable sight of a leucistic red-tailed hawk and then, oh thrill of thrills, an enormous eagle owl, an animal I've dreamed of seeing for a long time now.

We couldn't stay for the whole event, and so missed the talks that were given and some of the later demonstrations, but I left completely sated and joyful, eyes full of owls and hawks and corvids and peregrines.

I'm hanging on to that home-feeling from yesterday, that feeling that I now know is born of hours spent observing, not thinking.

Oh wait: that's meditation, right?

Truly I spent most of the day in a state of watching, instead of my usual thinking, letting the sensory data stream in. Gathering with my eyes. Reveling thoughtlessly in what was around me.

That's my kind of meditation.

Before leaving, I took Joe up to show him the MAGC apiary, and we stood there, too, watching bees fly in and out of very different hives from our own. I'm pretty crazy about these woven baskets, the variety of shapes and sizes, the forms so much softer than the boxes we're accustomed to using.

And as I'm standing there observing, like bees into the hive more data is flying in, into the space left available by my absence of thought.

More of that, please.

I so needed the break of yesterday, to be shown again (for the zillionth time) what I really need for maximal peacefulness and joy. It's simple stuff, really: just observing, not thinking. Preferably animals, please, any day of the week.

Give yourself a break. Go look at some birds. ;>


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