Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Beautiful Way To Start My Day

As often as I can manage, I've been trying to spend about an hour at the park before I go to work. It is a great way to start my day. I don't immediately have to jump right into stressful or boring work. I think that if I start my day with work, it puts my mind in that mode all day. If I instead start my day in a peaceful manner by tuning all my senses into nature, I feel more aware all day long and I'm happier at work.

I usually get to the park just before 7am and stay until about 7:50am. This is a pretty good time to be there because there is at most one or two people there when I arrive. It is also one of the most active times of the 24 hour cycle. 5am is generally the peak time for animal activity. I have a spot in the woods next to a bend in the stream. I sit there quietly and listen and look in 360 degrees.

Lately I've been coming up with excuses not to go...Too cold, went to sleep too late, too rainy, too much on my mind to focus. Today, I thought I would have too much on my mind, but it wasn't so. The time flew by and my mind was occupied with the goings on in the area, not on other things.

When I entered the woods to get to my spot I pissed off a squirrel in a tree about 10 ft from my sit spot. He yelled at me for a good minute as I settled in. I didn't understand why he was so pissed until later. Deeper into the stream was a family of ducks. They weren't spooked by me. They are regular visitors. I was surrounded by all kinds of bird calls and songs.

There were squirrels playing in the trees above me and I learned to track there movements by the sounds of the dew splattering as they jumped from branch to branch. At one point they gave me a nice little shower from above. 30 minutes went by and I noticed drops of dew landing in the stream. I finally realized that the pissed of squirrel was still in the tree. As I examined the tree I figured out that it was hanging out over the stream and there were no trees close enough to it for him to get away. He was stuck unless he came down to the ground.

It was about this time that he started his little trust exercise with me. He cautiously moved down the tree pausing after each hop to stare at me and flutter his tail around. At some point he would then bolt back up the tree. Meanwhile the family of ducks slowly made there way past the stream in front of me. I think the squirrel saw this and then decided that maybe he could trust me.

He proceeded to hop down the tree and then bolt back up each time getting a little closer to the ground. 4 feet, 3 feet, 2 feet, 1 foot. He finally stepped onto the ground. He was actually on the ground a few inches from the tree and then he ran back up! One final time he came down and made it to the ground. I figured this time he would haul ass away on the ground, but he calmly hopped away like the whole thing was a joke.

Because I was so enthralled with this, I didn't perceive the sounds and silences that warned of a coming bird of prey. As I turned to look back at the ducks, I saw a large bird in a tree. Then I heard the chatter and alarm of lots of birds. I could only see the bottom half of the bird and saw that it had a long tail. I grabbed my binoculars and tried to locate it unsuccessfully. When I put them down the bird was gone. I thought it might have snatched a duckling, but I counted and all six of my little buddies were still there.

Time flew by. So much happened in one hour this morning.


Bigwop said...

Awesome sit!

I took a run through the park today and came across a run-over garter snake of 10 inches. I swear it had just been killed and the eyes were still staring alive. I pocketed my new little buddy and ran with him. After returning, I showed him around the office like I was tom sawyer or something, scaring girls. wasn't too sure what to do with him so I put him on my friend' Palm Pilot docking station in hopes of a surprise.

You get them seeds I sent?

Sassmouth said...

I'm sure your co-workers were happy to see a dead snake in the office.

I didn't get any seeds yet. I'll look for them.