These woods I am talking about are the woods that surround my incredible apartment in Bedford, Massachusetts. I was here again, these last two weeks. I love this place. I walk these woods and each step sounds that crunch of snowy leaves and soil beneath my feet. The tall and abundant trees, some with evergreen, others sparce and bare in these wintery months, stand tall against an almost white sky. The cold air on my face, there is a smell to it, of moisture and moss. This is a good place.
And then, on a walk that I took with my landlord’s son he walked me to see the Emu. I wanted to create the story that the facility that housed this bird was a secret, hidden place. But it was just here. No apology at all. And here, behind a chain fence, stood the bird.
He’s been here for as long as I can remember, said my woods walking companion.
And in that instant, despair landed in the beauty of the trees. Because I immediately projected that this was not a good place, nestled in my good woods.
But it is. It is the Concord Field Station and supports the “physiological and biomechanical laboratory-based research of animal performance, seeking to understand how animals operate in their natural environment.” It is research, not testing.
And then there is this bird.
I had so many questions. Does someone love him? Is he out there all alone all the time? And so is he lonely? What do they do with him? Is he a him? Or a her?
She/he looks incredibly healthy. Did you know that an Emu in the wild may live only 10 years or so (though some will live to 20) but in captivity they can live up to 35 years! And an Emu in Eastern Victoria is almost 60!
I went back a second time. And then, again, a third. And this Emu, here in this place, behind this metal fencing, this bird that has been here for as long as my previous walking the woods companion can remember, each time I show up he/she runs to the fence, and then along the inside edge, lowering and raising their head up and down, up and down, as they looked at me. Do I make him nervous? Or is she happy to see that someone is here with them? I truly could not tell though worried I was kind of upsetting them and perhaps should not stay for too long.
I called the facility, while I was standing on the path with my bird, to ask, am I bothering him? Is she happy to see me? How old is my bird anyway? And I learned he is 18 and loves company so feel free to step off the path and come in close to say hi.
Which I did. And while I did not stay for too long, it felt good to come in close to say hello out loud to this bird and not just to this bird. To the air out here. And the trees. To the path that I walk along to reach this place again. To say out loud, I see you and I know that you are here.
My Monday Morning Writing May Not Be Every Monday
But on the other hand, it may.
Some weeks, the writing may come weekly. Other weeks maybe not. Because this is where I’m at these days. Because, as I sit to write this Monday morning writing that lands squarely on this Monday, I am reflecting on this thought I had a few days before, that not every writing wants to do that. That not every writing wants to come every week.
And this revelation of when my writing should flow up out of me and be shared with you, it mirrors the trajectory of where my life is taking me now. There is a duality in this. In the structure of my commitment to my commitments against the commitment to honor what may unfold in every moment.
I am trying to be in every moment as it is. I am trying.
And so, these things that I do, especially the ones that are a scheduled commitment in my day, those need to be examined to see if there is flexibility that will allow for an alignment of these activities with the inner workings of me.
When I write allows for this alignment. And so…
My Monday morning writing may not be every Monday. It may be every other. Or two in a row and then a few weeks of no writing at all. It will be what it is in the moment I feel the creativity call me to share my words with you. And while this Monday morning writing may not be every Monday, I guarantee it will show up on a Monday.
Oh, and this pic of my sneaks….this has nothing to do with this writing at all. Just a cool pic. On this Monday day.
Thank you for reading my writing today.
It is a new year. A weird stepping in for me. I am not quite sure where I am in this new place that is this new year. It feels the same for me because the paths I am navigating these days I am still on, and they still look the same to me. I can see a glimpse in the distance but no clear new views yet. I can feel the possibility of growth, but the same weeds and thorns and roots trip me as I walk on my way. No fresh fauna or fern covers the dirt, no new birds sing. I am not accompanied by any new species of totem animal to light my path with wisdom blessed down upon me. Not yet. And so, this stepping into the new year, this is not a new year yet for me. My new year will be when I leave these woods. I am not sure when this will be.
So let’s talk about the rain instead.
It rained this past week in Ojai. A bit of a downfall and a lot of sprinkling. For three of the five days. And more days of more rain are coming this week that is starting now. Which is a very good thing for us. Because we need it. We have not had much rain for a very long time. And our land is hard and thirsty. Our trees dig roots deep to keep growing high and our oranges and lemons and oh our poor avocados, their harvest is not as abundant as we would like. And so this rain, it is very good for us.
And very hard for me.
My other lives as a cat (I am sure there was at least two) or a Doberman (because my dog acts as if the raindrops are daggers piercing into her skin) cause me to avoid the rain at all costs. I just don’t like it.
Interesting for a Pisces to say. Because I do love the water. To be on it (rowing). In it (swimming but it has to be warm water). Having it fall on me within the contained space of my shower floor (anyone who knows me knows this is a safe place for me, along with my car). Interestingly, I do not like hot baths. Too sweaty. But I do love Jacuzzis (as long as they are very hot and, yes I know, hot baths, very hot Jacuzzis, why do I like one but not the other? This I do not know). Suffice it to say I do love hot Jacuzzis. But rain--
Not so much.
But let’s talk about my dog. I wrote a piece about her and the rain a while back. How much she does not like it. Like hates it. Like, will not go outside and once I had to take her in a parking garage when I was out of town and it was raining and I could not get her to go out for a walk with me. It was quite a torrential rain, but still. I had to go down to the bottom level of an indoor parking garage, with a poop bag, some grass I pulled up from the ground, a bucket of warm water and some paper towel (because I am a responsible dog owner) and let my dog do her business on sub level 4! She was embarrassed. I could tell. But not so much that she would go outside.
Her limits are crystal clear. My limits are, as yet, unknown.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.