We have long known that there is a certain openness at times of transition. As we are falling asleep, or as we are waking up, we have one foot in the world of sleep and dreams, and the other on the ground of the current day. Life is interesting there, offering a view of ourselves that is not accessible when we are either fully awake or asleep.
So, too, is there life around us at dawn or dusk which may otherwise be unseen.
The other week, at the time of one of this summer’s uncharacteristic downpours, we were sitting having dinner with our neighbors on their front porch. The night was warm, following a steamy hot day. Their porch is wide, so we could dine without getting wet. (at least mostly…) The night was falling more quickly than usual with the dense cloud cover provided by the torrents of rain that spilled down.
We had a view of the street and were able to catch sight of a fawn tentatively crossing the street two yards away. Had we missed the doe, leading the way in the stand of trees that divided the yards?
Later that evening as my husband and I returned to our house I caught the profile of an opossum waddling across the road in the other direction, moving quickly as if it had some sense that the cars may not notice its low lying presence.
I thought about the other oft unseen critters that share our nearby spaces. My husband heard the coyotes howling one night in response to an emergency vehicle which raced by with its siren signaling urgency close at hand. I have only seen a single coyote in the ten years of living on this road. Recently, though, my daughter called out anxiously to me as I returned from walking the dog one evening. She had seen a coyote slip across our yard the second before she heard the jingle of Mr. Dog’s tags nearing the lawn. The dog and I had missed it, and were completely unaffected, so quickly had the gap opened and closed between us and our animal neighbors.
It makes me wonder about the other creatures that parallel our world, and how much we miss. I am grateful for that brief glimpse into their space: the sight of a circling hawk, catching the wafts of air, the occasional fox with kits, even the odd moose or bear.
It is reassuring to know that they are around us, even if they sometimes take advantage of our flower or vegetable gardens or even our animals. They offer a balance to our distracted lives as they continue forward, present each moment, responding to the immediate need to build a dam, seek sustenance or ensure the safety of their young. We are afforded access to them at their behest, knowing they are keeping us company while we each continue on our respective paths. The transitions between light and dark, wet and dry, or forest and settled land, open up a breath of life perceivable only in the seams between our worlds.