Growing the psychosocial TOTEM

Black Grouse, you… beating incessantly in a portion of the trees to great for me to observe thee. The double bass beat of thine wings rather exotic to the screaming and singing of your smaller winged friends. A call to protect the forest from invasion. In the eve’ a woodgrouse plays, and flutters off to a mossy limb.

(this is the black grouse I would hear constantly while encamped in my tent during an arduous tree planting season. After a rough day in the logging blocks, while settling down to music or lying peacefully on my fur waiting for sleep I would hear it beating its wings, looking for a mate, it sounded like drums, and such an alien sound to me, accustomed to the familiar fauna of the south)

Red Fox, you… conspicuous vagabond ov the urban night away from your sheltered den by the gravel paths, nary a common guest but surely a hospitable one. Approaching so close, just to heighten thine own sense ov smell. Staring into my own orbs transmitting a lesson of awareness. Then trotting the path with leather foot into dark alleys fairly traveled.

(As I was laying one night under a lamp outside in a park after reading, I heard an unmistakable sound of paws on cement but those too small for a dog. I turned my head up and a fox was glaring at me in the orange light, we exchange this for a mere couple seconds then as casually as a cat it continue on the path through the alley which I had walked from my house)

Northern black bear, you… with a lumbering grace through permeable foliage of saplings, rising with a seeking accordance towards higher fruit. Like a wraith ov black regalia, intimidator to brotherly fauna and humans alike, but a comrade to those who understand. An initial scare for want ov survival but then the spiritual presence wafted back to me at the roadside.

(At a trail that was partitioned in two, high on a trail of a Northern Canadian forest, I saw this black shape moving through the woods. I thought it was someone with a black hoodie, but the way it rose from it’s hind legs was obvious it was a bear. It did not see me and I escaped, through bush and over uneven rocks back to the road, just in case it had not satisfied its hunger on berries and leaves yet)

Coyotes, you… was it with your mate or your pack alpha I stood bewildered in sight for your escape to the bushes? A rare pleasure in the nocturnal hours besides the rapids. You tunnel through the head-high grass and set up your sleeping chamber in the reed bed for a night or two, perchance. Will you return on future nights of wanderlust?

(Just a couple nights ago, as I was turning my direction back from a cold night walk, two coyotes crossed the path, one following the other, with a seeming un-bothered fashion.  Certainly they saw me before I them, but vanished towards where to the lake near where I live, which is covered in enough grass and plant growth to hide them)

Wolf, you… domestic for us but still a true wild heart, resting in slumber with your kin. In no mood for play, you know they are unworthy of watching. A cut of land, hardly enough for three with a moat keeping you dormant, a melancholic yawn and tired eyes to pass the time.

(Meditating on the sight of a wolf at a zoo, the only one I have seen so far)

Hawk, you… standing guard like a viking on your swollen rocky peak. It looming over lake deep, 300 feet and 300 more below the broken waters. Uttering guttural incantations, higher pitch, as I approach thee. Then departing in a swift to a more remote precipice surveying from afar.

(This was at the same place I saw the bear, a hawk was on the edge of the lookout where I was hiking and giving me a look of caution lest I come closer, I thought it was protecting a brood and it may have had a nest around.)

Moth, you… flitting and abiding on my shoulder and no around my shovel, conveying truths and perseverance to me, adorned in filth. Clambering over dead stumps I stumble and you follow, your fragility the essence of my strength.  I find you again, waiting for me. Then I sit clad in sol & shade pondering the day.

(When I was tree-planting, I injured my hand and could not be doing anything heavily industrious for some time, but then I tried to plant again and damaged it even further where it become slightly infected. One moth kept circling me when I was skeptical about continuing and landed several times on my shoulder, arm and shovel, then I walked back to the logging road and it was on my pack which was well over a hundred feet away and there were several other packs to land on. After this I decided to stay no matter what occurred to me bodily)

White-tail deer, you… just a dashed wave ov fur and hide through monumental bark. Without sound, out from your plantation home on the dense ground.

(in a Northern Ontario town, just on a nature walk, this deer almost flew through the branched yet did not make the typical crunching sounds at it hopped away, it was like a spectre because I only saw bits of fur and tail)

Skunk, you… scavenger of leftover’s, your feast for the darkened times. A true practical mammal, leaving nothing to waste, the pulpits ov your eyes concealed. The chiaroscuro pattern of your hair so elegant, retaining your odoriferous spray, as I do not intimidate your borders.

(Watching a skunk perform its city hunt for human trash and dead matter. I approached one on two occasions but it spray me, taking me for a friend and not an enemy.)

Vulture, you… hissing your brutal note, just as a shadow without definite form. Late, and unknown. High in the gnarled arms ov the trees as they hold you aloft.

(I was with my, now ex-lover, and we took a calming night exploration into a forest beside a river. We we talking, each leaning up against a tree, and one vulture from above started hissing at us. Its feathers and body seemed to blend into the branches, but when we retired from its abode we could only hear it in our minds)

All of these encounters were just times in my life when I felt connected to a certain animal in one way or another. It either offered me a glance into their life or interacted with me somehow.

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