Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Everyday Spirituality: Consciousness and Nature.

{normal caveat: this is not an ordinary entry for this site; no evaluation of anomalies are presented this day}.


To start with something far less beautiful than the painting above:

I was looking out of my bathroom window into the back yard, when I saw a very large and very ugly white "rat" crawling through the wildflowers that cover the ground. It wasn't a rat of course, but a female opossum . Shortly, waddling purposively after, came a much larger male opossum, who obviously did not share my opinions of her beauty. Across the whole back lawn she went and then took a right turn towards the house.

I altered my viewing point to watch. She was quite ragged looking and he quite nicely kempt [for an opossum]. He looked like he could serve as a cute dumb-looking pet if you could ignore the rat-tail, but she was horrid. He disagreed. She would walk about, while he patiently crept several feet behind. If he'd get too close, she'd let him know, tooth and snarl. He was bigger but fighting was not what he had in mind.

But fight he ultimately did, because along came another male opossum to gaze lecherously at the Belle of the Ball. When the second fellow aggressed a bit, the first suitor violently attacked and routed him, while she looked on with interest. She returned then to her own grooming, and he to his patient hopeful state. I left them to their ways...............

We can anthropomorphize all we want, but the opossums were operating on rather low "animal instincts". He is, by almost any definition, stalking her. She, however, seems at her level of instinct, a fairly willing stalkee. She bides her time, and at some moment, she chooses. Then, it is my understanding, he walks away and she deals with the results. It is obvious that part of our own brain is opossum.

The birds are less spectacular and overt about this, but most of them [after mama makes the eggs] are the same way. Some guys hang around; some don't. We love the Cardinals because they stay together and share the parenting duty for the long haul. And we like the Robins, because while she is making eggs, he sits in the nearby tree while she feeds on the ground, and instantly routs any other Robin who comes into her feeding area.

Though we have Opossums, Robins, and Cardinals in us, there is something else which tries to raise us up, and do more genuine caring than just procreating the species. On my walk that day, I came across a middle-aged couple. They had stayed together far past procreating time. They'd dealt with their "opossum" and gotten on to something greater, something MORE conscious, something higher. They worked together side-by-side at their landscaping, and happily smiled and said hello to this stranger, myself. Along the path of my walk, there were, at two different times, WMU coeds jogging along, their ponytails flying. My own opossum was instinctively interested in all that, but my real conscious thought was: how good for them; free to choose their own paths, their personal growth, the quality of their lives. My backyard opossums, even my cardinals, would never have thought that.

But, while the instinctive individual may not manifest such consciousness, I wonder if Nature Herself does not do so. This second part of this entry comes from an experience of the singing of the coyotes, sent to SITU. The correspondent wrote:

".... we were living in an old adobe house .... A very old mesquite tree had grown up and through the living room ceiling, its branches covering most of the roof. Wonderful setting, on the edge of the desert, beyond which ran the Papago Hills.

" It must have been the July full Moon of the year 1949. A lovely night. I had dropped into a calm wholesome sleep. Suddenly ... I was awakened by a strange chanting, half-gay, half heart-rending sound, a chant out of eerie tales.

"I crept out of bed .... once on the terrace, I was held motionless because what I saw seemed unreal. Then I bumped my toe on a lawnchair and knew I was not dreaming.

"Out in the middle of the desert, the full Moon illuminated a large circle of golden sand in the strip between the arroyo and the foothills of Tumacacori, Arizona. All around the circle there were some ten-to-twenty coyotes --- I did not count them. At first they sat just inside the moonlight, howling low and soft at the Moon, their heads held high.

" Then their moan became an intense off-beat chant. By twos, by threes and fours, crossing each other, circling one another, they literally danced. As if the Master of the Ballet had drawn the most precise yet fantastic, chaste yet erotic, square dance that might have been danced at the Court of Louis XV.

" I was spellbound. My body writhed in sorrow and stretched in joy in turn, as I watched what seemed to be an endless .. grave ..  lilting ..  betrothal dance.

"And then a cloud darkened the Moon. The coyotes hurled their bodies to and fro with their usual dismal cries. .... and disappeared."

.... sometimes it seems, Nature has more to say.

And those times are Magick.

The area of the correspondent is one one several traditional Native American areas which have a legend of the Spirit who [like Prometheus of the Greeks] did humanity the great service of stealing Fire from the gods. In the Navaho myth, the thief is Coyote; the thieved are the Moon and the Wind.

Maybe some rare days, Old Coyote still likes to dance and sing and manifest beyond your average opossum.

Peace and Wonder, folks.


  1. I think this Henry Beston quote is apt:
    "For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth." As for myself, my bedroom window is open year round to hear the coyotes. Pity the fool who prefers cities.



    1. .... much to meditate about.

      And an astonishingly fast comment! You must have Coyote Sense.



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