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A Turkey teaches Zen

Living in the woods as we have been these last seven years sounds very daunting. Indeed, at times it makes me look back and wonder how we have managed to survive as well as we have. The first things that come to mind like this all involve winter and the times our usually mild climate here in the Pacific Northwest, isnt so mild.

But even in the midst of all this, I still take time to pause for a moment and look around me. There is so much beauty to behold here. So very much that would never be seen were I not living this close to nature.

The chance sighting of a turkey hanging out in the bushes less than fifteen feet from our window is one of these occurrences. It was the rustling sound that drew my attention to it. A sound that would have been much fainter had I been behind the straw and glass walls of my house. There it was, just looking at me as I looked back. Both of us seemed to wonder what the other was doing here, because to each other we were equally out of place. Quietly he turned and continued on his way, in no hurry to where he was going but definitely having a destination in mind.

What a turkey was doing in our woods Ill never know. It was a few weeks before one of the turkey holidays last fall, so we assumed that the he took his life into his own hands and decided not to be dinner for one of our neighbors. The calmness of that turkey is what stays with me more than anything. He was so very calm, as though knowing the direction fate had planned for him but with great dignity deciding to change that direction.

In the last several weeks, I have been feeling this change come about me and how I view the world around me. Oddly, though I still have no options as to how I will be living indoors by first snow this winter, I find myself becoming nostalgic about my years here as though I am already moving on.

Taking more opportunities to pause for a moment when I find myself outside and just breathe in the scent of pine and cedar. Stopping to listen to the wind whispering through the canopy above me or to watch the play of light on a falling leaf. The little rustles of small birds searching for a meal in the underbrush and the way they then dance on our tarp roof while taking a bath in some leftover rain water pooled there. And remembering that hush that falls over the woods when snow begins to fall, quietly blanketing everything into a new and pristine world.

I will miss being this close to nature when I am gone.


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