Wildness

We have had rain and the drought is hopefully broken, finally. After two years of drought it is difficult to believe our community averages over fifty inches of rain a year.

One of the hen turkeys has returned and brought eight chicks with her. They are so small and adorable! Last year there were three adults and about eleven chicks. We are wondering whether chicks with a single hen are more susceptible to predation. We also wonder how they manage to walk long distances. Watching the chicks scurry here and yon generates empathy for the patient, but ever vigilant mom.

Last night we picnicked on the beach, beneath the aerial display of seven osprey. We figure they must have represented two families, one nesting right on the bay and another a ways back from the water. That would equate to 1.5 surviving chicks per nest. Anyway, they flew above and around us for some time and we only saw one fish caught. We wondered whether we were watching the next generation learning to hunt while being cautious of the water.

Having time outside we are reminded of our kinship with all life. We are each born and inevitably die. Perhaps all creatures have some impulse akin to aspiration, and seek only to live in the face of all the dangers we encounter. Perhaps predators and prey share the bond of awe in the face of the great mystery we call “life”.

We live in a historical moment when many have lost all connection to our kinship with all that is. It is so easy to settle into a life without any connection to the non-human world, and to see other beings as somehow secondary to us. For some this is simply hubris but for others this is the result of a lack of opportunity to see oneself embedded in the larger world.

Our collective loss of relationship with the non-human world comes at a cost. How are we to maintain the ecosystems and organisms on whom our lives depend if we have no sense of connection to them?

Many shamanic culture believe each body contains multiple souls. One model is that one soul migrates from one life to another; another soul returns to essence, enlightened; and yet a third takes up residence in the landscape, settling into the fabric of the local ecosystem. We wonder: what happens to those landscape souls in all their fierce wildness when there is no wilderness to rejoin?

6 thoughts on “Wildness

  1. I enjoyed your whole post, Michael, but the last paragraph really gave me good food for thought. I like the idea of multiple spirits – it makes sense and is affirming for our whole environment, human and non-human.

  2. This is wonderful, Michael. Bird families live close which is powerful.

    I wrote an essay Four Souls, based on the teachings of a Northern Cheyenne teacher I had in Seattle. Most people have no clue they can lose a soul and still be alive.

    1. Lara, or people think it is a metaphor. Yet sole loss happens so easily, especially for children. Then there are the programs designed to steal souls, often under the pretext of saving them.

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