Suddenly, Wildlife!

26 06 2011

Ghost Crab, Assateague Island

You could be in the middle of the city, or a jungle, or a suburban jungle of lawns and sprinklers. Wherever you are, suddenly the animal, utterly different from your world, appears on the scene. For that moment, your worlds are one and the same, and you feel awe.

I hope you’ve been there. If not, here’s how.

Finding wildlife is about three basic principles:

  1. Be Still. To see animals you must not move so much. If  you fidget like me, you’ll understand why this is number 1. Try simply sitting somewhere, anywhere, and . . .
  2. Watch.  You might think this goes without saying, but really, when was the last time you watched something other than people or cars go by? Keep your eyes open to everything new and potentially interesting. Of course, you can help this along if you strive to . . .
  3. Be Present. A certain wildlife biologist I know quite well is excellent at being in the moment, and I suspect that’s why he sees most everything before I do. This is also why I have to be obnoxious about it when I do see something first, of course.

I have had birds, rodents, and deer virtually ignore my presence. Once, while walking down a mysterious path at dusk, I came face to face with a porcupine doing the same. We stared at each other breathlessly for several minutes before he broke the tension and walked off. I will never forget the floating moment when we both felt the same fear and, if I can extend your imagination, the same exhilaration at the unexpected encounter.

Hey, it could be true. The point is, experiences are as magical and meaningful as you make them. Another time, in a perfect garden and also at dusk, a dragonfly hovered gently above my head. I’d like to think we were on a similarly Zen wavelength in that moment. I do know for certain that we shared the same beautiful garden on the same beautiful night.

What are your sudden nature encounters?

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