Winter is oppressive this year. I consider myself to be fond of all seasons, including winter, but as the snowbanks grow, I am a little bit in awe of the challenges of winter. I have begun my journey of Lenten observations, but my Nativity is still parked on the front yard, with no hope of being wedged out until some of this disappears. I would guess that the accumulation is somewhere around the three foot mark at this point.
I came upstairs this morning, put on the coffee and then decided to sit and finish reading I Am Woman: A Native Perspective on Sociology and Feminism by Lee Maracle. Outside, the snow was coming down steadily and there was evidence that it had been snowing all night long. Maxman was okay to chill out with me and we both eased into morning, without any attachment to screens at all.
By 10:30, the book was finished and I felt completely depleted. Interesting that in the very last section, titled, Last Words, Maracle stated that most readers would have stopped by that point. I had hung in…decompressing at times, but certainly interested in the honest approach to dealing with the topics that other writers might easily skirt around. It was a difficult book, heart-breaking in so many ways…only 140 pages, compact, intense but, most important for understanding.
I continue to be very moved by the journey and history of my indigenous brothers and sisters. With this reading, I received new revelations to the struggles…for women, especially.
Today, the snow created a bit of an oppressive context for me, while carrying the weight of these stories. I thought that getting down to the Bow River might create a bit of a respite from my own thoughts. Instead, I encountered the desperation of hungry animals.
My eyes seem to be wide open when I am at the river’s edge. I feel blessed that way.
The first thing I noticed was the gobble gobble sound of a male pheasant as he valiantly took flight, gliding quite a distance from the hill across from me. A scattering of snow and a coyote bounded from that same location, toward me and Max. I hadn’t even left the parking lot, at this point, and already spotted the female pheasant in a neighbouring shrub. She was going no where!
I was pretty certain that this coyote was one that I’ve been observing lately, easily identified by an evident limp and a mangy coat. As the weeks of bitter cold continue, a generous food source, in the way of mice, voles and such is becoming very challenging. The predators are looking gaunt.
Stepping onto the trail, into the deep woods, and along the dark turquoise river, I noticed canine tracks in the fresh snow, unaccompanied by any human presence. I looked down at Max and told him, “Let’s go another route today, Max.” As I took pause and looked up, there, only a few meters away, stood one of the juvenile Bald Eagles about half way up a tree. His back was hunched and covered in a transparent blanket of snow. As Max and I moved to go around his territory, he took flight, his huge wings opening up directly above us. Having taken the more traveled route, it wasn’t far and we met two of our friends, both intensely engaged in something else.
It took Max a short while to respond. I think he was curious, more than anything. But, out of nowhere, he let out a wild and crazy barking-frenzy and in response, nine deer took flight and bounded across the landscape. It all happened so fast that I didn’t have opportunity to react. The coyotes followed the deer, without hesitation.
A moment’s pause and then, slowly and methodically, three other deer appeared. I have a sense that these are the younger three and that the adults had reacted to Max’s barking. Is that possible? Dunno… Tentatively, these guys carried on in the direction of the action. Max and I headed north on the river.
I wondered about there even being a possibility that coyotes might feed on deer during the winter. I suppose if one were to fall ill or if the coyotes worked together, their clever approach to community-hunting might provide for a meal of venison. I just know that in the cold and the snow, I felt compassion for all…the pheasant, the eagle, the deer and the coyotes.
For years, I’ve logged on to a Live Eagle Cam at Duke Farms. I’ve just recently seen that a second egg has been laid at the nest. Last year, surprisingly, no eagles nested in that location. Tonight, the camera is capturing an adult sitting on the nest in a horrible snow storm…
The Struggle is Real. Please take a moment and check in.