July 1st started out well and then rapidly went downhill as I got the news about the Granite Mountain Hotshots on the Yarnell Fire in Arizona.
By the 2nd, I was so drained from constantly accessing news videos, etc., that I had to get away, and so I went fishing. I wanted to try to different approach to a mountain stream that I fish now and then — it involved some gravel county roads, then two miles in four-wheel-drive down a steep descent into its canyon, followed by a short walk.
It felt like a welcome, I thought.
“Bullshit,” I told myself, “it’s just cruising the riparian zone looking for lunch. I happened to be here, so it checked me out.”
Maybe the flip side of the New Animism — the focus on relationships between yourself and the other-than-human world — is that you cannot think that these encounters are All About You.
The wild birds are always watching, and they do talk to you. And they talk about you. Several times I have had crows and Steller’s jays tell me something when I was hunting deer or elk — but it is up to me to act correctly on their information. Apparently our relationship is not yet perfectly harmonious. But if they would help me more, they would have something to eat. Isn’t that fair?
What gets under my skin is when someone says something like, “My totem is Hawk,” because I want to know which hawk? There is a boatload of difference between a Cooper’s hawk and a Mississippi kite, for instance. (Oh well, they probably meant red-tailed hawk anyway, the pickup truck of buteos — large, useful, and ubiquitous.)