At this point, I have no idea what I will talk about today, although there are plenty of areas in the environment to touch upon. I must comment though, on the recent arrival in our house of a new kitten, the only survivor of a litter that originally numbered six.
What lessons we learn from the creatures around us. This new little guy, whom we have named Achak, meaning Spirit in the Algonquin tongue, is a reminder of how helpless we all are in early days. A subtle reminder, too, of our stewardship towards our world and its inhabitants. How often do we stop and think, I mean really think, about this? More importantly, what actions do we take to practice our stewardship as a sacred duty?
In our forest here, we are surrounded by a thriving, teeming population of animals, birds, insects, reptiles and even fish in the marsh and stream that bubbles along near the house. They are our closest neighbours. Their world is obvious, but hidden at the same time to our senses, when we fail to pay attention.
Yet Achak, his mother and our other three cats, live in both worlds. We belong to them as much as they belong to us, living in the nest we call a house. But outside, they stalk and hunt, they play, they climb. What stories they could tell us …
They know where the rabbit warrens are, the deer trails, the mark of a passing fox, birds’ nests and squirrels’. They hear the coos and hoots and growls and rustles, the swoosh of crows’ or herons’ wings as they pass overhead. They scent the wolves and bears, the sweet grass and spicy elm bark. They see in the dark of a moonless night, the motion of a swooping bat or a foraging shrew. Their paws touch a summer’s early morning dew or winter’s crisp cool snow as they taste sweet grass or fresh meat after a successful hunt.
Where do we fit into this mysterious, hidden world of theirs? Do we compliment it by leaving only footprints behind, or do we dismantle it by cutting down this tree, or paving over that field? Do we smell the sweet scent of a rich forest floor, or pollute it with exhaust and garbage? Do we taste the incredible sweetness of wild blackberries, or tear them down for a manicured yard? Do we hear the hum of bees and dragonflies, or blast our ears with the latest news bulletins and roaring traffic? Do we walk barefoot along the paths nature gives us, or bind our feet and stumble blind, mute, deaf and senseless, assuming someone or something will save our world at the last minute?
The choice is ours.