A Continuing Series
Wednesday, May 13th, 2015
I’d been this way just a few days before. I knew that I was likely to see the javelina.
Today, along the trail there are incessant gnats and flying pests. I stop to wonder if the swarm has attached to me, the tastiest morsel around, or maybe a population boom occurred in the immediate area. I feel a light breeze gracing my body and they are floated away.
It is very warm, in the high 80F’s and totally exposed to the sun. I feel the heat on my back and shoulders. Many prickery pieces of cactus have been carried, or have blown into the trail. Large barrel cactus hooks, pieces of prickley pear and fallen balls of cholla are a hazard for the exposed foot. I keep my vision mostly down to avoid these dangers, only occasionally looking up to the dry abundance of spring blooms turned into seed.
The air is clear, as I stop to gaze across the valley. I first look through the bright yellow paloverde trees, which are now covered with a mass of small flowers. They contrast so well with the bright green of the interspersed mesquite. This leads my eye further to the magnificent 9000 ft. mountains, all in deep dark green with highlights of exposed whitish grey granite. On some of these, there are still a few spots where the glitter of running water can be seen. These are distant mountain streams, or springs seeping out of cracks in the rock and then down the sloping faces.
Behind the mountains are towering white cumulus clouds. A bank of a weather front of these white puffs sits in the south. These contrast with the many wisps of alto stratus and hues of turquoise blue. It is busy up there.
I then place my gaze to my footing and continue with care.
The absence of modern sounds creates a peace, a sense of the mother earth as she is. The crunch of each step in the sands is broken only by those steps which are placed upon the rocks. They are a firm footing, which are buried in the dirt, or lying out. I use them as stepping stones, hiding my tracks. Each step is a new balance, a new direction, a new marker on the trail when walking across a field of stones. I notice that many of the firm gripping pieces of granite have lost the quality that I can trust. Some move, or slide, now. They are less stable. I believe that it has to do with the warmer temperatures. They grow and shrink, contract and wiggle as the Sun expands and contracts their form from season to season and night to day. Which step will be on a stone that has come alive? One never knows until you actually hear it groan and strain to support the weight that has been added to its foundation’s load.
I begin to walk even quieter. I’m stepping on only quiet rocks. I want to sneak over the ridge where the javalina may be lounging. There is one small grind of a newly loosened piece of granite and I hear a few of the beings begin to stir with alarm. As I continue across the bridge of haphazardly tossed boulders piled on the last 20 feet to Hav-a-rock, more javalina are alerted.
Today, there are staghorn cholla pieces on these rocks and my stony nest, along with small piles of dried scat. Have the javelin been climbing on the rock, not just lying under it in the shade? I wonder if these markings have anything to do with my scent, or a claim of territory, a challenge. Could it be some other creature?
I watch, as they move away to a safe distance. They seem to be eating well, indicated by their size and girth. The young ones are growing well. I put my hands up to commune with transpersonal energy, a message of our oneness. In the past, this has soothed them, stopping their flight. I would like them to feel at peace when “the naked one” comes to visit. I’ve even thought to leave them water, maybe they would associate that gift with me. I have walked amongst families of javelina before. I just don’t want to get them used to people. There are bow hunters when it is their season. My empathetic awareness couples with them, as I send the transpersonal energy. Suddenly, my body jolts and I sway. My stomach feels like a grinding churning. I suddenly have a notion, a better understanding and sense of the harsh conditions these other beings live in. I sense the dangers, the good and the uncomfortable in their diet.
I decide to lay back on this warm rock. I enjoy hot rock massages from my masseuse. This should be like that. The summer heat that makes rock more like a frying griddle hasn’t arrived, yet. Today, this rock creates a groan, which escapes out of my mouth, as my body adjusts quickly from shock to comfort. Still, I am reluctant to stretch out. The packrats and javelina have been here. There could still be bacteria, or parasites where I have brushed away the dry feces and dead plants, which had been only a few feet away. This day, it isn’t as inviting as other days. The packrat, if marking territory, has won the joust today. No matter, I can sun as I chore, replacing the drip hoses on my garden, back at home. The walk has done me good.
I make my way back, less conscious of the sounds that I make. I have to stop and admire a dying barrel cactus. The hues of gold and brown have a fine sheen in the sun. The array of color is incredible. I wish it a prosperous budding, reproducing until it has faded away. All before its bacterial decomposition is completed.