Listening In The Dark by huntersjames at

Listening In The Dark

Listening in the Dark

written by: huntersjames



Talking with the animals, the plants, the Nature that holds our nature, we feel beauty, implicitly accepting Nature’s gift of life. Listen and feel the coyote’s gaze, the hummingbird’s touch, even the joy of the warblers.  Healing.

We are told of the vast untapped potential of the human mind. What if this is our new frontier, more spectacular and terrifying than all that have come before? What if we made time and reserved bandwidth for Nature’s frequencies to nurture and expand our minds; maybe this is a strategy to open a new potential  in order to adapt and even overcome the challenges of modern life, and beyond? We cannot, nor should we wish to escape the realities of life today, our assumed dominion over our physical, earthly frontiers. Now we are 10B people or will be soon enough, so things are different, and they will be better. Perhaps they will. Have we set the bar high enough? Could we be even better? What if we listened for the very real messages, communication, even songs and secrets Nature could share with us? It could happen at any moment if we only open ourselves.

The summer following the ram’s message of my Father, in a tectonic ripple guarding the Gila and the Salt Rivers as they come together, in a place I should not have been, South Mountain, where the temperature was topping 110 degrees, I found myself confronting an Antelope Jackrabbit. Of course he yielded to me, but it is not how you think. You see, I was on his right. Traffic was slow. An hour later and the temperature would peak at 114 degrees for the day. We two just stopped there, together. It was the sensible thing to do as we each recovered our senses, slowly. We were probably both dazed as we should have been anyplace else but here, in the middle of this oven on this afternoon on this trail at this particular moment. He shushed his legs to make them stop bouncing and gave me his glance, not at all surprised it seemed. Was that a quizzical smirk I detected, as though he was pondering my reality? As well he should have. But time was of the essence. If our meeting would run over too much, if at all, I could have melted. Still we gave the moment its due and waited respectfully. Admiring is how I spent my time until accepting his gesture, I finally made my forward move. I acted first and stepped across his path, perhaps he was a couple of feet, less than a single hop to my left. He yielded, making no move which I respected by moving in a pattern he would know. I was no threat to him nor he to me. We were just two hikers in the kiln of a summer in Sonora. After a few more steps I turned to see him continue, methodically bounding on his way.

Language and words are too often indulged in place of silence, perhaps to replace silence. Are we embarrassed at gaps in the noisy evidence trail of our invasion? We just keep shoveling, with whatever we have on hand. What we miss are exchanges like mine with the Antelope Jackrabbit. In a moment, with less sound than is possible for ears to hear we had communed at our mutual wonder simply of our being, here, walking in the mid-day heat on top of this ridge in the Mata Hata mountains. We knew each other in that moment, and he knew me as friend. He had no fear of me this day, though he could not say the same of the coyote that had just roused him from his daily nap in the wash below. My excuse is that I overslept yet still wanted my daily walk. I was foolish; he was a survivor here in his own home. We shared the fact of being here in this moment, our presence where and when it should not have been. And I think we acknowledged our mistake itself, almost like a silent “excuse me, sir”.

I climbed down off the ridge to my office in the wash and roused a Roadrunner from his perch. He was hunting and didn’t stay to chat. I followed his dart-like trajectory as he flew-ran out of sight, angles put together like the Grand Prix drivers of old, before wheels made the road-race modern. There was no shade in my normal siesta spot this late in the day so I maneuvered my way to a new rest spot, a lounge rock on the west side of another favorite petroglyph. Which is to say I take undeserved credit for a meeting with God.

Leaning back in my newly cleared space, adjusting to the new shapes and jabs of an untested backrest, I gently lowered my back to the wall and closed my eyes. Buzzing arrested my thoughts before they had a chance to spoil the touch of the hummingbird resting on my wrist. I peeked, his wings still blurring, they never stop, and he spied me too, or was it my orange kerchief. I disappointed him as much as he honored me, this Ruby Throated miracle was looking for his sweet, and here I was this smelly salty beast. He did not stay, though I waited for a very long time for him to return. I wear orange a lot now. He was so gentle, if only someone would think that of me?

Thinking keeps us occupied, sometimes for ill, sometimes for naught, and right now it keeps me secret from this coyote coming towards me. She’s hunting up this wash like she does every day and her nose is to the ground, thinking. The breeze is in my favor. I wonder how close I can let her come before advising her of my presence in this new spot. The hummingbird is gone, so my concentration is taut on this beautiful dog, unspoiled by man as hard we try, as she picks her way towards me up the canyon.

Her eyes are Zoro-rimmed in black, the same with her tail and maybe her mane. She is sleek and well groomed. Perhaps she is a he? How might she be so healthy having just welped her pups, further down this wash, just weeks ago. I had probably seen her before, the wind this time was in my favor. I observe her scouting the canyon; stopping to listen, to search ahead beneath the filtered shade of a gnarly tree, she still didn’t see me. She was looking for action, movement of any kind. All was quiet. She headed up the draw leading out of the wash, straight for me.

She is beautiful. Her coat is so lush in its gray gold with the black highlights, on her ears and tail, erect and bushy. I tap my hiking poles lightly, not wanting to be rude, and she stops. Confused not at me, but with herself. She is surprised, and this is rare. She sees me and quickly jumps aside and crosses over. Through the palo verde tree we spy each other. She watches me from a ledge across and further up, maybe 20 feet. We stare each other down, the opposite of hiding, I do not know if I am thinking, except to crush on her. Her ears perk up and I think I am truly crushing. She is gorgeous. I turn my head a moment and she is gone. It is possible she could circle around and surprise me behind from over the top, but this will not happen. She is gone into her mountains that have been here since a beginning. Every day she hunts this wash. She is done with me today.

Two warblers seem oblivious to me and my lost coyote as they come out to play in the Palo Verde blooms surrounding me. They really do not seem to notice me, just a few feet away. These Palo Verde branches encircle me as a hunting blind might, though this is an accident of my new spot. The warblers play along and tag each other as close as arm’s length away. They are daring each other to get closer I think?

I just watch, the early summer blooms distract us all, a million delicate yellows. Beauty is a construct we assume we own, alone. Surely animals cannot hope for this gift of knowledge. Yet these warblers are frolicking in the yellow mist of blooms, in a sort of ecstacy. Back and forth they nip the blossoms until they fall. Then one bird catches and seems to throw it to his mate. It seems to be a game, sacred even. They are playing. My thoughts awaken from their meditation and the birds fly away. These green desert warblers came to play and they welcomed me, giving me their blessing.

Hiking down the mountain I take my time, in reflection. I startle a brood of quail, maybe 8 or 10 chicks no bigger than Woodstock. I stop to note their discipline, lined up single file and double stepping into the broad shelter of an Ironwood tree. No more than 2 or 3 chicks will survive a month from now, but they are undaunted and focused on the moment. Survival will come on its own terms.

A secret breeze cooled me with my own perspiration before it could touch my shirt. Days like this, I do not want to shower again for fear something will be lost of our Sonora. The dry desert afternoon is coming into heat and has brought me alive with its embrace. As the ram had a message of my father, all creation has a message of the Father. Listen. Our nature is in the Nature, there for us to find. First we seek, we choose the relationship we wish to have with our wild. We can tune our minds to the infinite and the impossible of Nature. We can listen to the animals, the plants, even the Nature that holds our nature.

We can Listen. We can Love. We can love Nature especially. To her we can offer what She is due. In cherishing, embracing all Creation we love Love itself.

Talking with the animals, the plants, the Nature that holds our nature, we feel beauty, implicitly accepting Nature’s gift of life. Listen and feel the coyote’s gaze, the hummingbird’s touch, even the joy of the warblers.  Healing.


We could listen and should we start now, not waiting another second?

Latest posts by huntersjames (see all)