The animals I called for my wordless walks two months ago were the deer, and it's funny - while I rarely used to see deer when I went to the swamp, now they come. Almost every time. I saw six or seven two days ago. I still don't really believe it works, but it's a fun game and I enjoy making "oneness" connections with the animals, even if it could all be chalked up to coincidence. This time, I didn't call anyone in particular. I sort of sent a "surprise me" sentiment out to the universe. And almost immediately a great blue heron lifted off and flew gracefully through the trees. I whooshed in a breath of wonder. Then as I walked a little further, I heard what sounded like dragons. I am not kidding. Turns out that they were a passel of young wild pigs, some all black and some tan with black spots, like something out of a children's' story. They ran off too quickly for me to get a photo, but I heard and saw them twice, snuffling and grunting and snorting and splashing through the flooded forest. What a cool surprise - I've never ever seen pigs at the swamp!
I waded through shin-deep water for over a mile, relishing my Amazon-like adventure, and noting that I'd need to choose a different trail for my wordless walk the next day. I wondered where the armadillos had gone - there was so much water and so little high ground. I'm sure they know what to do and had taken refuge somewhere.
Eventually, I headed to a less remote, far more civilized, fully boardwalked trail, and even a small portion of it was under water! I walked amidst myriad lizards and snakes. I surprised two small alligators who splashed off the boardwalk- I don't know who scared who, it happened so fast!
On the way back, I thought - ok - I would love to see an owl. I sent a request for an owl, wordlessly. I don't even know quite what I did. And then I dropped attachment and kept walking. Sure enough, a few minutes later, there was my owl. As I crept closer, she glided silently away through the cypresses further up the trail. But when I quietly rounded the next bend, there she was, perched and watching me, then turning to gaze down into the water. I did my best barred owl call and I can only describe the owl's expression as bemused - like, "Really? You expect me to believe you are an owl??" But she didn't fly away. The owl ignored me and stared down into the water, perhaps eying her next meal.
Whether the heron, pigs, deer and owl came for me or for themselves doesn't really matter -- I'm just so glad I had the gift of a moment to enjoy watching them. Give it a try next time you're outside. Call the animals and see if they come. You can read more about wordlessness and oneness and techniques to connect to the natural world in Martha Beck's book, Finding Your Way in a Wild New World. And watch for announcements- I'm going to start up a new Wild World virtual book club soon!
Also coming soon: More animal calling stories and shared wordless walks from some of you! It's not too late to send me stories or pictures from your own wordless walk - I'd love to hear! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Lastly, tomorrow (Monday) this blog is going to move to self-hosted so I have a little more ability to do some cool things with it. My only worry is that I won't know how to do said cool things, so if anything seems a little wonky for the next while, you'll know why. I'm hoping for a super-smooth transition, but I know I have some skills to learn too. Wish me luck and I'll hopefully be checking in again very soon!