I keep looking for a way to describe this forest in the early morning — clearly, concisely, poetically — because the forest is like a poem, rich and enchanting. But it constantly changes, and it's very difficult to wrap words around something that is continually rebirthing. While I'm writing a word, the forest keeps evolving, needing other words instead.
The light is, of course, ever-changing. There are no city lights here to make a continual glow. The birds know when morning is coming long before I do. They sing their chorus of many lightsome songs to greet it. This forest is part of a long migratory route with birds and butterflies and god/dess only knows who else passing through at times of their own choices. The dawn confabulation changes with them. Three days ago there was a mountain blue jay outside my window — black crest above a brilliant blue feathers, brighter blue than the sky or ocean. I hadn't seen him before nor have I since.
Marzipan, the tiny ginger cat, sits on the window ledge, wide-eyed every dawning. We watch together as trees begin to appear out of the dark shadows, well before the sun sends long, searching fingers in to light up the sides of a few trees while the rest remain shadowed. The sun may not get through for hours. It may not come through at all if the day stays cloudy.
Sometimes random raccoons appear. Like the deer, this is part of their forest. We only share a small bit of their territory. Marzipan does her best from inside the window to defend the feeders of her friends the birds from the predations of the raccoons. Though far larger than Marzipan, they seem they seem to have concluded that this small lunatic cat making a noise like a chainsaw hitting a nail can't be trusted to be sensible about this, so they quietly slip off back into the forest.
Although we can't see it happening, there is as much growing and stirring underneath the ground as there is above it. If I go outside and quietly stand barefoot, the life below is quite apparent. And there are liminal voices, like the voices in the trees and bushes, that are whispering just at the far edge of hearing. Even human feet can know they are standing on the threshold of... something. Fascinating things are always going on below, beside, and above us.
One day when life was seeming especially difficult, I asked the trees for help in staying calm and perhaps even balanced. It was a quiet day, and it seemed that they might be willing to share that stillness and silence. Standing there I became aware of my feet resting on a net of energy — roots, fungus, mycelium and things I couldn't name — were creating a supportive, solid web and accepting me as part of the forest. The same net was woven between the trees and bushes, even the tiny mushrooms and flowers. It extended up to the tops of the trees, where it covered all of us. Protected. Safe. Sheltered. It was a most breathtakingly wondrous sensation to be held in the arms of Mother Nature.
I can connect with that same feeling any time, any place, if I just remember to keep being who I am — a natural part of the forest.
I thought I was finished writing this, as much as I could be, but Marzipan just got excited, ran to the window, and started chirping in her own little purry voice. I looked out past her, and the mountain blue jay is back. We are both curious — what is it doing here besides eating suet? We're down close to the ocean, though we can't quite see the water because of the trees. We're certainly not in the mountains. O, I'd forgotten but I'm being reminded — so many feet of altitude equals so many miles northward in climate — I forget the ratio. Perhaps it is reasonable then to find mountain blue jays here in the Northwest at a low altitude. I grew up in the South where they are only high in the mountains.
Well, that's one mystery solved. Millions of them remain.
Copyright ©2017 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.