“Full moon in Scorpio!” my darling daughter advises me Saturday afternoon. “Can you feel it?” Uh, not really. Maybe tonight? “3:25AM.” Okey dokey.
Sure enough, 3:25AM I find myself wide awake. The doggies stir and I decide to let them out to pee. Why not? Immediately the moon sears through the back yard onto my face. Yep. I’m feelin’ it now. OK, back to sleep, doggies, back to sleep. We tumble back into the warm bed.
Somewhere in this general timeframe, under the lunar influence, no doubt, (the ever-talented) David Perry posts about his illustrious encounter with not one, but three rats. If you haven’t read about that, do. Not to be missed. Not at all. Shortcut: he kills three siblings in a single whack and leaves them on the fence lined up as dinner for the local crows. Mmm-huh. Would I kid you? And what do I leave as a comment? “I would have expected turkey vultures.”
OK, I’m getting the picture. Intense energies. Death. Rats. What’s next?
Like clockwork, next morning I see a cop car out front, slowing down. Now what? I open the front door for a wider view and smile. Small town charm. He’s slowed down for a dead animal on the street. “Cat?” I call. “Nope. Possum.” Strangely, I’ve never actually seen a possum even though I’ve known for decades they were around in all the neighborhoods I’ve ever lived in the Bay Area. I go out and pay my respects. Interesting critter. Kinda cute in a toothy sort of way.
Within the hour I look out and there is a turkey vulture also paying his respects. Sort of. I fleetingly think back to my recent comment on David’s post but shrug it off and go about the day’s business and I don’t think much about this again until I happen to glance out the window late in the afternoon and there is a second turkey vulture, landed on the fence across the street with his wings fully outstretched. A twenty-five pound bird with a full four and a half feet wide wingspan? Now they have my attention. I am in total awe and run for my camera. By the time I’m at the door this one is gone and I’m left as my focus the one on the street delving into the possum dinner. I step outside and begin snapping, taking baby steps closer, knowing the inevitable will occur, and, of course, within steps the vulture flies up into a large cedar and observes me safely from above. Fine. I’m standing here until you come back down. The standoff goes on for a goodly five minutes, until he resigns himself that I’m not leaving. He unexpectedly soars down the block and then back again over my head. OK, I can go with this. Snap. Snap. Two seconds later I notice a second vulture joining this activity and can you imagine my surprise when a third suddenly shows up, seemingly out of nowhere and I am now the triangular focus of three huge vultures swooping overhead in wide block-long circles, each flying closely and deliberately over my head as part of their path. I am elated. Clearly they have engaged me in this activity and for several long group of seconds I am no longer Earth bound, but part of a vulture dance, only sky-focused as they repeatedly, blessedly fly into my camera’s range. I am keenly aware of their surfing air currents in the process, and I have to think they are having fun! Who knew?
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, –and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of –Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
One. Two. Three. And then they are gone, as suddenly as they appeared.
I am laughing out loud, overjoyed to have participated in these unusual moments.
Within seconds one returns, most likely the one that started it all, and he resumes his interest in the possum. And I am left to ponder the turkey vulture and my brief wonderful exchange and to contemplate his place on the planet Earth, which I have now been doing for two days. For, indeed, the turkey vulture has made a survival art out of recognizing what has lost its usefulness on the planet, and he proceeds to clean it up. He rolls up his proverbial sleeves and sets to work upon what we would find the daunting work of the unthinkable. Yes, he impassively confronts what we would find most distasteful, not fun at all, and makes it his business to make short work of it, and be nourished in the process. What a metaphor for the Greening of the planet. If we were to take it upon ourselves as the turkey vulture to set about facing the uncomfortable mess we find ourselves in and make it our business to not only set to the task of cleaning it up, but also to be nourished in the process, what might we accomplish?
Love and Earth Day blessings,
Little note: I promised Ewa in the Garden to join her in an Earth Day post, after she posted this fascinating photo from South Korea from folks there trying to help this beautiful planet we all share.
Posted on April 22nd, 2008 by Kathryn
Filed under: Planet Earth