sometimes you find things in the least expected places, and that is part of the beauty of trying to stay aware as a tracker when you wander – constantly switching between the micro and the macro. looking in new ways and trying to be tuned into the track or sign that could be underfoot, while at the same time staying present to the live coyote that could be on the landscape ahead of me or the eagle that could be soaring above. a lot to track. that’s why i love the wander … it is a meditation, a whole-body/mind/spirit tuning practice that connects me to the land and its wonders. its the wonder wander.
as i moved through a zone of trees that sandwiched a seasonal creek bed that cuts through the landscape, i noticed a cow vertebra in the trunk of a bay laurel tree. uhh, strange. it had been there for a while – the tree had actually grown around it! who created this curious forest decor? perhaps it is some bigfoot feng shui? that is the most obvious answer, of course – though i would say this could also be a remnant of the Clovis culture, or even more probable the work of a werewolf. maybe an old prototype for an Al Jourgenson microphone stand?
regardless of its origins, what was really cool about this bone tree-fixture, was the little world around it. there were short mammal hairs on the trunk of the tree right by it, spider webs all around it, a sow bug just hanging out on it, and there were also a lot of rodent gnawings on it too (rodents love to nibble on bones and antlers for the calcium, and perhaps to also help trim their teeth). truly a work of living (and dead) art.
my “short wander” – in between the storms this week that are delivering much needed rain to our lands – turned into a “slightly” longer foray than expected. because of the rains that just passed and the storms rolling in, the animals seemed eager to use the clear skies to feed and frolic and flirt … the owls were hooting extremely early, and even flying around hours before sunset, while the red-tails were screaming and dancing in their courtship displays. the night shift and day shift were doubled up, and it was fun to see and hear it all at the same time. it was not necessarily an ideal time to be a ground squirrel or gopher, and they were on high alert.
with the wet weather and reduced people/dog/cattle movement, i was excited to finally get some clear coyote tracks of some of the family i’ve seen the last few weeks …
it’s always hard for me to leave, i usually feel like i should be making a nest under a bay tree and settling in for the night with the rest of the beasts. as i left, i spent a bit of time with what was likely my third set of owls that i saw today (and possibly one set of four to six in the immediate area!). they weren’t up as early as some of the others that i had seen previously in the day, but they were hooting and calling to each other with a lot of intensity. they finally came together in the boughs of a eucalyptus tree, then headed off up the hill to hunt before the rains came.