noises and sounds in the dark and out in the woods.
The nights at a woodland retreat can be the awesome. Especially if you are parents. Nights, after the child has gone to sleep, are great times to connect with the partner in way that has nothing to do with parenting. Perhaps even a time to rekindle the spark that brought you together in the first place. But that's not really what I want to talk about today.
As awesome as the nights can be they can also be a frightening time for this city-girl. The night is full of unidentified sounds. Unidentified because there is no light to see what is causing the noise or even figure out where it is coming from. Maybe not as dire as feeling like "the night is dark and full of terrors" (ala Melisandre) and truly not all the noises are frightening. Some are simply unknown. In fact, most come from an unknown source. Slowly over the years we have come to identify the sounds. But this is also not what I intended to talk about today.
I want to remember the rabbit that was hopping around us the other night. At least I think it was a rabbit. It is the sound of a small creature making loud noises as it moves in two little hop crashes, the sound of old dried leaves and branches being crushed underfoot.
At first I think "OK, it's a bunny. I think. OK. I'm OK with that (see how I convince myself that it really is OK?)." But then my thoughts turn to "oh no! It could be a Fillory Hare." That mean, doomed-filled hare in the Magician King. You know, the one that will tell you your future if you manage to catch him? Funny that a book can change my perceptions of a sound I hear in the woods. Dumb, but funny nonetheless.
OK, but then Dave starts saying in a coo-ing voice "baby bunny, ohhhhh, baby bunny" and suddenly the memory of a baby bunny visit to the campfire comes hopping into my head. A baby hare, I should say. But baby bunny seems to capture the cute-ness of it all.
Back and forth I am about the noises in the woods after dark. Finally back to the point of relaxation having identified the bunny and dispelled thoughts of Fillory...
Until I hear Dave running back from the road, his sandals smacking the rocks in rapid pats. I've never heard him run like this. My heart jumps into my throat and I listen for the sounds of something chasing him, because what else would make him run with such urgency?
Turns out he heard a bear huff a warning. A baby bear has been sighted in the area and he thinks this might have been the mama. Black bears are relatively harmless, cute even, unless you encounter a mama bear and her cubs.
How many times have we walked out to that road? In the pitch dark, lit by the moon, or in this evening lit by the fireflies? Countless. How many times have a I peed on that road? Squatted down under the stars with my pants down at my ankles, all vulnerable? Countless.
The pertinent question that remains stuck in my mind: How many times has there been a bear out in the woods across from me, sensing my presence? Poised to defend her babies? Unknown. Sometime the night is dark and full of terrors.
Just another adventure for this city-girl. A city- girl who likes inserting the books she reads into the environment around her.