"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sort of Magical



I'd just walked the kids to the bus, patted my last shoulder, said my last goodbye, breathed a sigh of relief. It was our first sunny day in ages, a day where warmth managed to melt the despot's grip of winter just a little. The kids had been more energetic than usual and I was glad to release them to their lives. I had just turned to make my way back to my classroom when I heard Max holler my name.

Looking around, wondering what he'd forgotten and preparing myself to hustle him back to the room to get the item and still get back in time to catch the bus, I was completely surprised by his reason for turning back from the bus to get my attention.

"Mrs. Shucka," he said, pointing skyward, "look, it's the moon, out during the day." His face was serious, reverent, and his voice urgent. Was it possible that I was witness to the exact moment when this child became aware that the moon can be visible during the day?

"I see. Isn't it beautiful? Sort of magical, don't you think?"

He nodded, flashed a quick grin, satisfied with my response, and darted back to catch his bus.

That was the beginning. Both of a series of sunny almost-warm days, and of a series of sort of magical moments.

The next day, driving to work early enough that there wasn't even a hint of light in the east, I saw first an owl and a few minutes later a coyote. Each in its turn materialized in my headlights, then disappeared into the night so quickly they might have been wraiths. My heart quickened, both at the startle and at the gift of glimpsing creatures of the night.

Yesterday Walt and I visited the refuge for the the first time in nearly a year. Toward to the end of the route, I spotted a coyote in a nearby field. Then I spotted his partner. We watched them wander and hunt while we continued to move forward, finally stopping when we were as close as we could get. They seemed, not exactly unaware of us, but certainly unconcerned to the point of not even looking in our direction.

We sat completely engaged by their antics. They pounced like puppies, butts in the air, ears alive with interest at the possible meal underfoot. The smaller and lighter-colored of the two was also thick in the middle—pregnant with this year's litter most likely. Both were healthy, with lush coats and bright eyes. Their meandering led them to our stopped car. Still not looking at us, they crossed the road just feet from our front bumper. At least the female did. The male walked the road as though leading us for a bit before following his mate into the whispering brown grasses in search of more mice.

Coyotes are common here. Their wild night choruses often make us grateful to be safely indoors. I see sign everywhere when I walk Toby. Spotting one is no more unusual that spotting a deer. Yet being allowed to witness a pair hunting in broad daylight as we did yesterday felt like a rare and sort of magical event.

This morning I awoke to the mating hoots of our resident owls. That urgency came through closed windows and over the sound of the blown air heating the house. I lay in bed and listened, comforted and grateful, looking forward to a time not that far in the future when my morning wake-up song will be this year's owlet calling his aloneness into the dark.

 I live a life where I not only get to say "resident owls," but I also get to know the  differences in their calls. Where I can anticipate sightings with relative certainty. I live a life shared with coyotes, taught by them the lessons of survival, resilience and spirit. I live a life where children share their wonders with me. The wonders of unanswered questions. The wonders of newly discovered phenomena. The wonders of unfiltered feelings.

Sort of magical.


Photos by Walt Shucka

29 comments:

DJan said...

yes, Deb. Sort of magical says it all. Lovely observations of the natural world, and knowing the different owls by their call, that's almost... magical indeed. :-)

yaya said...

You say it all so beautifully that I was caught in your magic as well. The daylight sighting of the moon will probably be the highlight of that young boys day! Great photos too of some of your magical encounters. I love hearing the owls that live in our pine trees and the sound of the coyote usually makes me a bit nervous! This is their mating season but it seems yours has jumped the gun!

Desiree said...

Beautiful, Deb! So sensitively conveyed, so poetically spoken. What a wonderfully thoughtful and deeply insightful writer you are.

kario said...

I am so glad that the sunshine is appearing for you! The photos are terrific - tell Walt he is amazing! Your connection to nature is so rich and full and I love the way it overflows so that we can all share in it. Max clearly knows how important it is to you.

Love.

Retired English Teacher said...

Truly magical. Thanks for sharing.

Wanda said...

Very magical. I love the archetype of the trickster. I even enjoy the beauty of a healthy coyote here in the suburbs. And I try to keep my felines away from them. So far, so good.

Dee Ready said...

Dear Deb,
Magical Max and magical owls and magical coyotes come alive and beckon us in this posting.

That because of the magical writing.

Peace.

Wanda..... said...

Your writing conveyed so well the feeling of joy one can find in the presence of children and nature...reading your posts is a pleasure!

Donna said...

I love those sights as well...the gifts of nature that are just somehow awesome. We have owls in our neck of the woods too, but never hear them except in the summer. Magical moments for sure!!

B. WHITTINGTON said...

I'm always excited when I see a post by you because I know I'm in for a treat. This post did not let me down! Indeed, it gave me a piece of your magical day.
Thanks for that.
I love living in the country and the wildlife it provides. Especially this winter we are enjoying the cardinals and bluejays and woodpeckers at our feeders.
Happy Sunday evening. Blessings, Barb

Stacy Crawford said...

Magical indeed.

Kleinste Motte said...

What a magical post and a praise of a very fortunate lady who knows it. I love the urgency of Max wanting to share his discovery. Glad you gave him the time he needed:)

Richard said...

When I traveled to Nevada a few years ago, I was amazed when I saw my first Coyotes, sort of like the little boy seeing the moon in daytime. It's possible for us older folks to be like little children.

Barb said...

I'd say definitely magical! From the child, to the coyotes, to the owls (and the eagles), you are receiving gifts for your spirit. I'm seeing bloody scraps on the snow indicating that our female coyotes are ready to mate. Though I often follow their tracks on the trail, they don't usually show themselves. Love the photos you captured.

Ann Best said...

Magical indeed. And beautifully written, Deb!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

Gammary said...

Oh Deb...I know that place and your words bring me there immediately. Thanks for your work, you are amazing. You deliver the Thank You note to the universe from all of us.

Mary

kathrynmagendie said...

When I was visiting Oregon a few years ago, driving down a lonely road, I glanced at my son to say something , and when I glanced back, there was a coyote - I slammed my brakes - barely missing him! I would have been devastated had I hit him.

Your writing makes me think of the feather you gave me - and the rock *smiling*

also it makes me think of my cove here at Killian Knob - with our critters - bobcat, bear, coons, birds, deer - so many . . . the owls do hoot in the summer and I love listening.

beautiful as always.

Pam said...

I've never heard an owl hoot, or have never seen a coyote. It would be truly magical for me. It's one of the best parts of travel, this siting of creatures from a country and environment so different from your own.
I do have to be careful what I wish for though. When in the U.S. I mentioned that I had never smelt a skunk. Wish granted - memorable!

Ed Pilolla said...

yes, quite magical. i am so blessed to pause and admire the moon hanging in a blue sky. it is a gift to all with sight.
liked your comment on jannie's blog.

Ed Pilolla said...

got confused for a moment about who spoke at jannie's blog. scratch that comment:)

Terri Tiffany said...

:))It is magical:))

deborahjbarker said...

Magical indeed Deb. Animals and children have an innocence to envy at times. One of my daughters believed the sun and the moon to be the same, the sun becoming the moon at night, until she witnessed both in the sky at the same time. Lovely photographs!

Sandi said...

Lovely magical moments, and I can hear the lilt in your words. Nothing like the sun to bring out the spirit and warm it up a bit, huh?

Yes! Let's plan the Grand Canyon! I can't imagine anyone I'd rather trek it with! We'll do it!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

"Sort of magical"...the perfect words to encourage a child's curiosity and delight. This is a beautiful post, and I've just read many from the past several months. Each one was honest and powerful and sort of magical. Winter can be so difficult. I hope you will soon feel the pull of springtime, with its longer days and its celebrations of life.

Linda Myers said...

Sounds like you're feeling blessed again.

Laura said...

most DEFINATELY magical!!! I feel the same way with the woods behind our house. When we pay attention the world is filled with moments such as these.

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

Your post is so beautifully written that I can feel the magic in every word. Nature is full of charm and mystery.

Blessings.

Doris

Katie Gates said...

Beautiful. I envy your environment.

Kathryn Grace said...

Magical indeed. How I envy your encounters, city bound as I am. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving us these glimpses. I can smell the coyotes, the wildness!