The past two nights I have disturbed deer drinking from pockets of water where I climb down to cross the rocky creek bed. I try not to scare them, but they scramble up the opposite higher bank and then don’t go far. I have found both bucks and does when first coming upon them and get a glimpse of them leaping up and out of sight. It’s too late in the season for spotted Bambis.
That is the side of the land, divided by uncountable years of erosion creating a deep cut of soil, roots, and rocks, where I have established the heart of my evolving interface with not just trees and wildlife, but all benevolent Spirit. When the trees first told me they would show me things I’d never seen they weren’t just placating me with a pleasant prediction. It doesn’t hurt that I actually completely believed them. And it doesn’t have to be in this one Grove of Consciousness. That’s the whole point.
Until I get seated and settled in the darkness where the only illumination I can see is the mottled New Moon-lit sky through the high ceiling of what might as well be black foliage, I am navigating with my phone light just like Daniel Boone.
One non-visual highlight of the darkness, once I am quiet and blind, is the slow crackling of dry Bay leaves from deer that are either standing sometimes only several feet away, passing behind or in front of my living Live Oak seat, or milling about almost any direction within earshot. They surely sense that I am a hunter, but only for truth and beauty.
In time they all move off down hill ( in a month or two it will be down Stream), where more pools are to be found in the creek bed edged by some truly respectable multi-trunked, bulging root crowned, gnarly exposed rooted Bay laurels, leaving ( between interruptions of loud muffled vehicles a quarter to a half mile away) only the the soothingly textured pulse of the life celebration of countless crickets all above me and everywhere within and around the darkened cathedral.