May 14, 2009

retreat part 2: your animal soul

Early morning, pouring rain, chilly. I was up early as usual. There were hundreds of worms on the driveway, escaping a flooded drainage ditch. I was taking them off of the driveway and placing them on higher ground. At first, I was an efficient worm-rescue machine. Moved 'em off the driveway and on to a raised patch of grass. Went back for more.

But then I got curious. The worms looked a bit pale, or perhaps a bit flushed - it's hard to tell with worms. They'd been practically swimming up on the driveway. Maybe, I thought, they are hungry. Or maybe their skin can't stand the open air like this. Maybe they are too weak to get back in to the earth.

So I dug some holes, and tested them out with some feisty-looking worms. No luck. My holes were not up to worm standards. Perhaps worms do not like holes that have been pre-made, lest the holes belong to somebody else. So I roughed up some nice dirt patches, the easier to begin digging, and put the worms in them. No luck. The worms oozed away. I tried covering them with leaves, in case they didn't like light. That didn't help. I was a total failure at worm rescue! It was just like trying to be witty in front of somebody important. There were those worms, staring at me without any eyes at all, forcing me to make excuses about my lack of knowledge about all things dirt.

So, after putting all the worms on high ground, I left. Twenty minutes later, they were all gone. No thanks to me!!


Before dawn, in a tiny little gazebo, in the middle of the woods, I was meditating. It was extraordinarily windy, and there was a huge full moon. I was enjoying the sound of the howling wind when a new sound started up. Huge chunks of bark being ripped off a tree, not too far away. The sound of a powerful breath. A bear! A HUNGRY bear, looking for a snack! And there I was, all alone in the forest. My heart skipped a few beats. I was motionless, exactly like a hare waiting for the perfect opportunity to make a dash for her hole - except there was nowhere to go. I breathed silently. The noise stopped. Minutes passed. I was frozen.

Unexpectedly, my timer went off, indicating the end of my sitting. I opened my eyes. New sunlight was mingling with moonlight. The wind had stopped... and a doe was only a few feet away, eating sprouts calmly by my side, totally unafraid.

Who is the timid animal in the woods, exactly?

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