Monday, May 12, 2008

A visit from Ed...

Last Saturday I was at our little solar homestead. By myself. Well, I did have my new puppy with me.

Late afternoon. I'd completed a couple of projects Joni had asked me to do. I'd watered the apricot tree. And also the newly planted olive trees that Joni had re-planted a few days ago (their third move). I could have started laying the new bamboo floor in the cabin. But I didn't have the correct nails. I could have pulled off the old moulding in the cabin. But I couldn't find the blue iron (okay, I didn't look too hard). I could have put some new cabinets together. But you should see how complicated those instructions are.

So, instead, I did what I do best: nothing. Well, I did I take the puppy to the swimming hole. And we took a walk (still no new no trespassing signs). Time to celebrate the days accomplishments (and non-accomplishments) with dinner. A sandwich. And a six dollar bottle of pinot noir that is quite excellent.

I sat on our concrete slab, that within one month, will hold a new post and beam family room (along with a straw bale addition next to it.) Digger pine will be the posts (from our property). I watched the tree tops sway in the wind. Content.

Above. Very far above. There were 12, yes I counted them, Turkey Vultures swirling around; riding the thermals.

The shadow came first. Seemed like the shadow of a 747 landing at O'Hare. Then I felt the whoosh of the wind. And glanced up to see a huge Turkey Vulture passing by my head as I sat in my camp chair. I could have reached out and grabbed him. I watched him fly down the property at eye level.

This is curious?

He flew up above the trees. Circled around. And strafed me again. Flying a mere five or six feet above my head.

What the heck is he doing? The new puppy was asleep at my feet. I quickly placed him under our picnic table (that I was sitting quite close to), and tied him to the seat. I'd never heard of a Turkey Vulture taking live prey--and he surely wasn't gonna get my new 9 week old, yellow lab. I thought Buzzards were only interested in dead things?

I sat back in my chair to enjoy the show. And sure enough, the Vulture did it again. Strafing my head by a few feet. What did he want? Was it that, having not showered for a couple of days, he thought I was dead? Or was it the pinot noir?

After a few more passes, I watched the Scavenger fly off. Only to hear a car behind me.

I watched the car turn into our driveway. A newish station wagon. The vehicle was filled with people and I watched them stop. Then they piled out. First four sixty something people piled out of the car. Three men and one woman. And I watched the back hatch go up as two (I assume) husbands pulled their wives, with great effort, out of the seat less back of the station wagon.

They were a mere thirty yards away, and I could hear them talk.

"Did you bring the binoculars". An acquiescent gentleman reached into the car and retrieved them. The six unlikely, grey haired visitors were decked out in hiking clothes. Hiking shorts. Crisp, clean, short-sleeved shirts. They gathered water bottles. Cinched up hip packs. And the women pulled out three of the longest Hiking Sticks I've ever seen. Gandalfian in nature, they were as tall as the ladies.

The whole ensemble looked as if they were all retired accountants who had been given a one thousand dollar gift certificate to Patagonia, rather than a gift watch.

"We are going to hike to the end of the canyon to enjoy the view" they called to me. "We want to walk!"

Did I really hear that?

I'd never seen a hiker on my property before (although I'd written a piece welcoming such). I watched in awe, maybe even a little bit of love, as they left. One husband then got in the car and drove on ahead of them.

Amazed by the synchronicity of these two events. The curious Turkey Vulture and the Six Geriatric hit me. Yes, I mustn't read too much into two separate events. There is a fine line between Jungian, Scarabian Synchronicity and Psychosis. And the difference between mysticism and delusional belief systems are in the eye of the beholder. After all, I am a Psychiatric RN by trade and have met more reincarnated Messiahs and Saints than I can number. Dangerous territory to be a mystic.

Yet, I'd written this piece for Mother Earth in the spirit of Ed Abbey. Abbey said he wanted to be reincarnated as a Turkey Vulture. This curious behavior of the Vulture, was that Ed? Was Ed trying to get my attention (or my wine) by strafing me because impending tourists were arriving? Was this Ed's stamp of approval on my little essay? Was it his way to get my attention that I was about to reap, what I had sown?

And the Patagonia clad hikers? Was this a test to live what I wrote? To share with others the wonders we have around us? Surely part of the responsibility of being a property owner is to share the beauty of such with others (including our relations who are non-human). Does anyone really own the Earth? What's the difference between a property owner, and an exploitive corporation, if all the former wants to do is take the treasures of the land for themselves. And only themselves?

I'll never see a Turkey Vulture in quite the same way again. Let the Walker's pass. Read Abbey.

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