Living in the country as we do, we share our land with many wild creatures. Though rarely seen as most are nocturnal, we occasionally see sign of them in a muddy footprint by the river or a soft spot of earth on the path. Once the snow falls, the whole world of animals outside our door comes to light through their tracks and it is breathtaking to see how vibrantly alive with wildlife are these fields and woods.
Seeing numerous tracks, large to very small, is like a tour of discovery every time I walk out. Identifying the owners is an intellectual guessing game.
In the past week, I’ve seen coyote, fox, bobcat, bear, deer, opossum, raccoon, otter, mink, rabbit, porcupine, squirrel, numerous birds and countless small species of rodents. Most on our small parcel of seven acres, a few on our neighbor’s land, but none more than a half mile away.
“These are my neighbors,” I think to myself. They live here, connected to their home just as I am. They live out their lives and we so rarely see them. I suspect many of my fellow humans barely give them a thought, but they are here by the hundreds and they have learned to co-exist in a human-dominated world.
I can’t help but feel admiration for their tenacity for survival. It feels thrilling to know that they are thriving and multiplying, a reassuring indication that this environment is clean and healthy. I am so grateful to share their world.
“Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than [this].” ~ New Testament, Mark 12:31
“Mitakuye Oyasin” (All are Related) ~ Lakota phrase