Here in this thing called civilization where one can be alone standing on a crowded sidewalk, mingling in a roomful of people, or dabbling on an internet where countless souls meander to and fro in search of what they know not, that which behooves me to feel oft times comes from the uncivilized, the natural, the landscape of Gaia filling every moment with discovery and companionship.
I fail to grasp the totality of whatever darkness now besets me. Something amiss, something foreign invading those places where it does not belong. Whatever the cause, I find myself looking more to the camaraderie of those alien to too many.
A pair of cardinals for many years has nested not too far from my garage door. This year, for reasons I can’t explain, the female died. Many a day this past week have I spent weeping with the male as he called from shadowy places that lonesome song begging for answers, begging for her return. Soon he must take leave of her absence, move on from what he presently denies. And still I cry thinking about it.
When finances allowed, I spread a veritable buffet outside my patio that many species far and wide enjoyed. I know I glimpsed a sort of pride in the adult robins as they brought their young to feast upon raisins, a treat beyond compare for such avians. Only in my own stillness would they approach and dine as I watched. I respected them for such attentive care to the young who carried all hope for their collective future.
The cicada-killer wasps who swarm these next months all around my home do not know me as they are the year-to-year embodiment of their kind, the only remains of those who came before, yet I trust, like their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents before them, they will quickly realize I stand betwixt them and all threats, I adamantly provide the guardianship necessary to ensure no bumbling human wipes them out unwittingly, unknowingly. And if all goes as it has for so many years before, they will learn I am as safe a perch as any motionless tree or bush. Such a thing rarely takes long.
Whilst crows attacked a mourning dove faithfully defending its nest, the other parent welcomed my intervention by allowing me to come within inches of the sheltered brood in order to chase away the marauders. They did not return. Meanwhile, mother and father alike granted me the profound experience gifted by standing eye-to-eye with them in the nest, in the tree alongside my driveway, and neither blinked at my intrusiveness. Their two children grew strong and capable, and they too lacked fear of me.
Then there is the cottonwood, the elm, the oak, the spruce and the pine; the centipede and millipede and isopod and spider; the mockingbird, the sparrow, the starling, the martins, the flycatchers and the hawks; the moss and fungus; the ducklings and goslings; the waves crashing against the shore and the wind singing through the trees; and a great deal more.
In truth, these emotional bonds represent meaning as real as that felt with my human familiars.
So is the looming absence from this place, from these beings of emotion and vivid life, that so fills me with dread, with a sense of preemptive longing?
I suspect as much.