Monday, August 15, 2011

She Goes Into The Countryside

I make no secret of my indoorsy proclivities, and have discussed them at length elsewhere; but on occasion, even I go outdoors, and sometimes while I'm there I get lucky.

Found objects are not ordinarily my forte; I've never been so fortunate as to come across a really amazing find while out walking. This weekend, however, I quite accidentally managed to find not one but two small treasures. (What I did not have, of course, was my camera, or I'd have photographed them in situ. The small trip off the beaten track was unintended,)

I was at an historical event, garbed as an 18th century woman (albeit a very heavily armed one, but that's just me), and making my precarious way down a stepped slope in wildly inappropriate footwear. As I clutched at a sapling to keep myself upright, I happened to glance to my left, whereon I spied a large rock upon which rested a perfectly centered, immaculate blue jay feather; it was as if it had been quite deliberately placed there. I left it there--in part because I couldn't remember if jays were a protected species in that particular state, and in part because the tableau was too lovely for me to disturb--and took away the memory, along with a mental note to consider the blue jay and what lessons it might bring.

Jays are related to crows, and carry some similar characteristics of behavior. They're chatty and aggressive, and fiercely protective; I once passed too closely by a jay's nest as a child and she chased me all the way back inside my house. Looking at the lore of the jay as a totem, I find that some consider it a trickster character, and one given to mimicry and mockery, so perhaps these are things in myself that need attention at the moment, a tendency toward such actions which may or may not be serving me. One source indicates that they are highly resourceful and adaptable, and capable of getting along with the least amount of effort, and that when jay shows up one should look into one's own tendencies toward being a "dabbler" and not following through with things. Ahem.

Seeking shade and wondering how to get down to the creek, we found a path and started along it, only to find very near its entrance a small scattering of bones--deer, from the look of them, intact and mostly clean, scavengers having already done the hard work. Again, it was a little too perfect, all neatly displayed for me to go all forensic-anthropologist on ("This femur shows signs of having been stripped of its flesh by some scavenger") without having to mess with anything rotting in the midday sun (I prefer my bones to arrive already defleshed, thanks). A lovely femur, a scattering of ribs, right at the edge of the trail where anyone might find them and cart them away. And you know what? I didn't. I left those beautiful bones right where I found them, and not only because, as my husband so helpfully reminded me, I already have a deer femur. The land we were on is often used by scouting groups, and in fact there was a troop of them on site that day; and it occurred to me that maybe those kids needed the thrill of finding bones in nature and trying to identify them more than I needed to bring them home. If I enjoyed it that much, they probably would, too.

Now, had it been a skull, all bets would've been off. I'd have shown it to the scouts as I gleefully carted it off.

What have we learned? To keep our eyes open. To know the difference between what we want and what we need. And to persevere; because just a short way on down that path, past those ever-so-distracting bones, I was awarded with the vista of the creek, and the remaining foundations of the mill, and the mostly intact waterwheel that I had no idea was still standing.

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