I woke this morning after another dream in which Stellar (and Raven, too, this time) were eager for me to go for a walk. So I took Topaz out into the clear cold morning, whistled for the dogs, and set off into the woods traipsing over a light crust of snow. We skirted the does browsing around the house and went out the lion gate, then turned south where the snow was thinner. Neither of us had on the right shoes to go north. I’m grateful for a dream which motivates me to go for a walk, and for a cat who will accompany me.
There were lots of deer prints and trails through the shallow snow, a significant number of little cat tracks, and one stretch where a fox and a fawn followed the same course at different times. Lost in thought, I stepped through the tracks before noticing them, but stopped in time to take them in. In that pause, out in the quiet woods, a sudden sense of belonging swept through me. I wasn’t alone; there were many other creatures living here with me. I’m grateful for tracks in the snow, for the busy, hidden world of animal action they show happening all around and unconcerned with me.
I’m grateful for the color and diversity of lichens along Buck Canyon, and for the time in my day to be able to walk where I can see them. I’m grateful to live among this pioneering, composite life form, and its ancient mystery, in the old growth forest. Lichens not only are the first type of life to colonize bare rock when it’s been exposed by some shift in the earth, a mudslide or a road cut, any earthly upheaval, they also break down that bare rock eventually, turning it into fertile soil. They are slow replenishers of earth. I suppose when the Sixth Great Extinction consumes humans as well as other animate lifeforms, lichens will remain and life will start again. I’m grateful to be acquainted, ever so slightly, with these sedate, essential neighbors. Someday soon, I will turn my attention to understanding them more deeply, becoming their friends.
Today, I’m grateful for rain! Since it started late last night, we’ve gotten a whopping .23″ by happy hour. Yes, that’s right, less than a quarter of an inch. It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing. I’m grateful for friends who sent celebratory texts this morning at the height of precipitation, grateful that I have friends who find joy and gratitude equal to my own in this feeble heavenly bounty. I’m grateful on behalf of the parched earth, and the brown mosses, desiccated lichens, and little green growing plants; and on behalf of the insects who need water to live also, and the birds and frogs who need the insects; and so on, my gratitude spans the infinite web of Nature in the high desert.
I’m grateful for the first mountain bluebird this year, in the driveway – then another – a pair! I’m grateful for crocuses that won’t quit. I’m grateful that even while the human world went so topsy turvy over the past year, ineluctable spring just keeps coming: nothing will stop her, as though nothing else matters.