Feb 22, 2015
I have the perfect opportunity to play Indian out here in the desert. I use that term because as a child we played cowboys and Indians, not cowboys and Native Americans. That came later. So in my mind, there will always be the red-skinned Indians whose images conjure the balance of man and nature.
There is an obvious lack of life in the desert, due to what, I’m not sure. Pesticides I would think would be most of it. Acid rain, dirty air, global warming, human encroachment, all play their part. Now radiation particles floating over from Fukushima will have their due.
I have yet to see a rattlesnake in the desert which I have been walking daily for nearly two years. Not that I want to see one, but you would think that by now I would have seen at least a few. Even lizards are in short supply and rabbits that make up the bulk of the coyotes’ diet are not plentiful. They should be running everywhere, especially in the spring.
Beyond all of that though, I want to attune my consciousness to what life there is out here. I love the Indian Medicine Cards (order cards on 2nd page of my BOOKSTORE if this link doesn’t work) because I have learned a lot about wildlife characteristics I wouldn’t have known before. When I hear the coyotes at night, I can visualize their antics. I have recorded their playful yipes through the door of our trailer, but I have yet to see the packs running in all their glory.
I have a webcam on my wish list for mounting on the top of the trailer, so I can watch them. I have only had a few sightings of single coyotes, and that was incredibly exciting. A pack was right at our door the other night, but they are very skittish. When I got up to record them and made the slightest noise, they ran off. I quickly opened the door hoping for a glimpse, but it was too dark and I couldn’t see them. I have to work on my stealth movements, or I will never see them!
It was fantastic to come across the path of a desert tortoise, and a real boon to see a roadrunner or two.
Tal loved playing with the horned lizards that came out after a rainstorm in Ely, Nevada when we were at an elk lookout. He saw a few fleeting elk over the top of a hill, but I missed seeing any. I did witness a pronghorn antelope several days in a row. Though they are herding animals it was alone until the last day when I saw two of them and I assumed the other was a female that he had partnered with.
We have seen a few flocks of honking geese flying overhead and there are a few ducks floating along the Colorado River. The other day I was sitting outside and a hawk was calling for his mate. I do hear owls hooting every night and once when Tal went out at dusk one flew just over his head. Desert ravens are plentiful and because they are scavengers can do better than most winged creatures.
The mountain lion tracks had to be the most exciting evidence of wildlife I have seen, but we never saw the lion(s). Just as well on that count.
What we have seen in abundance are flies and huge ant hills. There was a documentary put out a long time ago that spoke of how insects would be the last living life on earth when all else has become extinct. It is frightfully evident that will be the case.
In the meantime, quietly I walk, my eyes looking beyond my feet, hoping for that illusive moment when life flies, hops, or trots by. I am Indian. I am the receiver of miracles. The animals speak to me of my inner complexity and I am humbled.