Ghosts and Other Invisible Things

mysterious bird prints
mysterious bird prints

I haven’t met many people who won’t admit to experiencing moments of transcendence — like — when your baby was born or that time when you saw an ugly weed poking out of broken cement transformed into the Flower of the World. It is that feeling of being connected to something bigger, deeper or more beautiful. When the ego is washed away and temporarily replaced with a sense of awe and wonder.

Seeing a woman wearing high heels not only run after a bus but overtake it kind of does that for me. I once put my feet into a pair of those contraptions/torture devices. Not only was I unable to walk but I think I permanently damaged several bones. A person wearing such things who not only can find her centre of balance but also move both legs at top speed cannot be a mere mortal. Goddesses! They walk (without teetering) among us!

But I am easily amused.

For example, last week I took my husband on a parakeet hunt because I was dissatisfied with the blurry shot included in a recent blog post. We didn’t find any even though I know the spot where they nest and some of their usual foraging grounds. It is a good thing I know about grocery stores. If we had to rely on my hunter-gatherer skills we’d go hungry. Frequently.

What We Found Instead

Field mice. Well, nearly. We saw the ghosts of field mice. Tiny shadows flitting from burrow to burrow. Almost faster than the eye could see. What were they doing up in the middle of the day? They are normally nocturnal. Were the mice we saw the equivalent of the kinds of people who flit from shadow to shadow in the dead of night?

I found one dead mouse lying near a burrow hole. Out of respect I did not take a photo. My husband said quietly that field mice do not die of old age. We left the body where it lay. The mouse community presumably has its own rituals and routines for such things. Just as bees do.

It felt weird seeing how that colony of despised creatures flourished despite human presence. The field where they live is surrounded on all sides by new construction. They can only be temporary residents until one day a bulldozer will push them out and away. Before you think this post is going to be all about being sad or disappointed let me just say …

I found something else.

I found I didn’t care that I didn’t get a nice photo of a genuine Texas Deer Mouse. And I wasn’t devastated at the transitory nature of their mouse paradise.  I was reminded instead of someone’s blog post where he wondered about those moments when we experience the numinous. He had left organized religion behind and yet still experienced moments of divinity. What should he call that invisible presence?

I realized I had a small answer to that. I realized the name is not the thing. It could be enough just to live it and know it is there. We don’t have to grasp or own or save everything.

* Allen Ginsberg’s poem in full after the break

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