For a couple hours each afternoon the goats make their way from the pasture back to the barnyard to be milked. And then off they go again, back to the fields. The pasture this week is by the beaver pond and the goats have quickly set to work making goat paths throughout the thick brush.
We’ve largely forgotten the incantatory and invocational use of speech as a way of bringing ourselves into deeper rapport with the beings around us, or of calling the living land into resonance with us. It is a power we still brush up against whenever we use our words to bless and to curse, or to charm someone we’re drawn to. But we wield such eloquence only to sway other people, and so we miss the greater magnetism, the gravitational power that lies within such speech. The beaver gliding across the pond, the fungus gripping a thick trunk, a boulder shattered by its tumble down a cliff or the rain splashing upon those granite fragments – we talk about such beings, the weather and the weathered stones, but we do not talk to them.
Entranced by the denotative power of words to define, to order, to represent the things around us, we’ve overlooked the songful dimension of language so obvious to our oral [storytelling] ancestors. We’ve lost our ear for the music of language – for the rhythmic, melodic layer of speech by which earthly things overhear us.
—David Abram, Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology
American Coot, I don’t usually photograph Coots because it is so hard to get any detail, its basically a black bird with a dark eyes and a white bill. Not a lot of contrast, but an American Coot with a chick, especially one with all that color now that I will photograph. Besides I never seen an American Coot chick before.
William Finley Wildlife Refuge, Beaver Ponds 08 May 2016
My unexpected journey yesterday was due to discovering that I could finally cross the area that used to be a beaver pond. Someone knocked out the damn 2 years ago (must have been the state) and I’ve been trying to venture across to the woods on the other side ever since.
I started by following deer trails, my favorite adventuring style (plus really the woods trail is nothing but a glorified game trail at this point, no humans really maintain it at this point, see first image). Then I found bridges, planks, and overgrown disorganized logs, thinking they must have been there from before the beavers but later it turns out that with permission from the state my mom’s fiance brought them down a few years ago. They’re actually from an old treehouse that was taken apart and the salvaged wood was given to us.
Anyways, my boots were unhappy but I made it to the other side, which sadly looks a bit better maintained than our side (I don’t like running into people when I’m exploring) but it’s a vast area full of huge old trees (many fallen), ravines, and wild blueberry bushes. Seriously excited about the blueberries, I only discovered that they grew here last year when I found a bush with a few berries on it, now I think I can forage enough for a pie. Finding wild blueberries is one of my favorite things while on adventures in Maine, but we usually miss the season.