i had a whispery premonition that wouldn’t go away as i returned recently to my camp semi-late lastnight. Something “out of the ordinary” was up when i returned! i thought for sure it was a friend who’d finally taken me up on exploring my invite to get away from the noise of the city and enjoy relative quiet, but no!
As i neared the entrance of my lean-to-like camp, the unconscious feeling grew larger, and i poked and prodded a small stick in, wondering if anyone was inside.
Well, next thing i knew, something challenged my entrance as i pulled back the sash into my spot, lunging once and then a second time with a small weasley/nasally grunt. i backed off in surprise and gave it plenty of room. Slowly approaching again from an off-set angle to the entrance, explaining my need to get back into my home, i whacked the side of my space with my stick, wanting to scare the critter off. And then, wondering at my martialism, changed my counter-aggression, as i realized that the critter could easily be a “sign”, spiritually. And i began calling it Elder, and apologized for executing a wouldbe violent response, all the while calling out to it that i just wanted my home back!
As i crept up at less-direct (and more defensible) route, i said these words, centering myself back into more of a respectful way. By the time i got back up there again, it had taken off, i was glad to find (tho later i carefully prodded my sleep-bag to make sure!).
(This situation, one of falling back first on violent self-defense (with a stick) when faced with Unknown intensity, and then more centered to where i would rather be focused– coming towards situations with a more spiritual approach and wanting to learn– seems to be a continual pattern, moving me to understand that it DOES take a lifetime to re-learn/remember decolonizing interactions!)
i thought sure, at first, that it was a large Raccoon. But upon reflection, it seemed like the size of it was like a small muskrat, but the territory wasn’t right…So, was it a GROUNDHOG??? Or maybe it was “merely” one of those badass squirrels! (whom DO seem to be my spirit animals!)
i never did find out (at least not yet). It could well have been a squirrel, bunching up its tail as fluffy as it could, but then again, this happened after dark, and folks tell me that squirrels don’t run around after nightfall. Hmmm, so what was it? Perhaps i’ll find out in coming days!
Some kind of critter, maybe as big as a coyote, has also been sitting behind my lean-to-like campspot, eating stuff more often of late. It’s pretty nifty, as long as it doesn’t start trying to break in! (i have been sharing food scraps nightly, and as the response grew, i began putting the scraps further away from my spot, to keep them from over-running me (tho i like having them hang out on me from time to time, too). This works a lot better, i find, at least for my spirituality, than doing what most settler people do, when thinking nothing of killing such “pests”.)
The night previous to this latest experience, i had somewhat of a surprise as well. Right as i said some sacred words (which i use to hail stealthy-sounding approachers), i thought for sure something/someone threw something into my space, via my “window”, knocking into me (rather lightly). Immediately after that energy (it was almost pitch dark), something made a noise outside as tho running thru low underbrush, but only twice. Then it stopped. i listened for a good half-hour, not making a sound.
Only after a good long time of listening carefully and thinking about it, did i come to the conclusion that a food bag that i had put up in my “rafters” (not really, but kind of like that), had suddenly fallen. But did some kind of outside critter MAKE it fall???? Perhaps!
Perhaps it had decided to launch itself from a perch above my lean-to, slide down the roof, and then stop when this motion made the bag fall, only to run in a straightline away, over the low bushes, a second or three later.
To note, early when i first began encroaching (yes, i did say that) on the spot (about 2 months back), having set up the camp for a week or three before i actually moved in, to see how things went, some animal made its voice heard, seemingly warning me to not encroach any further into this particular forest (and beyond a cursory exploration, i did not). But that call wasn’t in “anger”, more like “a heads-up”. Nine times it spoke its voice-call, and i didn’t hear it again.
Local hermits think there’s a Yeti (a.k.a. Sasquatch) in the area, but i haven’t experienced anything of that intensity. More likely, just the usual uninformed settler mind trying to scare people… i did smell, quite strongly, a bear once, while walking a trail that had been severed from routine travel due to ice-storm; trees down across the trail everywhere, and slow-going for walkers. And think i saw it in the distance, covered in iceyness. And then heard it later that night, responding to a bunch of dogs yelling at it with a single, plain, bear-like commentary. But it never openly visited me.
Many years of no probs
i’ve been living free for many years now and have seldom experienced this sort of stuff; then again, i’ve only wintered over in places four times, out of over 30 years of experience. And that might be the clincher: Wild folk acting in the context of their systematically reduced refuges and the colder-than-normal climate (here)…
Oh sure, plenty of mice get in and chew on things they need, but nothing like a critter actually staying around after hearing me approach. And this all just a little ways beyond city limits (where less police harassment and/or media-hysterified-locals is likely); but i have also been on the borders of true wilderness as well.
Oh, sure, it’s well known that bears and cougars stop by from time to time around here, but i seldom even hear them. Except for the bear voice i heard…
One time, back in Odawa Nation country, i fool-heartedly set up a camp for a few nights smack dab on a well-used trail. i knew it would be an inconvenience to the locals, but i could find no other halfway decent spot! Well, later that night, the strangest-sounding voice i EVER heard, spoke out, challenging my presence. i thought it HAD TO BE a Wolverine! But it turned out to be something like a Fischer Cat, i thought, after listening to this video.
What was it up to?
Anyway, soon after experiencing this BADASS champion critter get up In My Face directly (for once!), i got to thinking of the movie Caddyshack, where that one Gopher totally messes with Bill Murray. Tho small, that critter had some balls! (the POWER of the pipsqueaks!)
It turned out it did not piss all over my stuff, nor did it even “get into” my food (some of which is not “protected”), nor did it even chew anything! So what was it doing? Maybe it was doing a version of Goldylocks and the Bears, the squirrelcritter being Goldylocks…heh heh. Sleeping soundly on my sleepbag until i had the audacity to roust it from some Great Dream…NO WONDER its reaction!
“You STUPID human! I can’t BELIEVE you WOKE ME just at THE BEST PART of my dream!!!!”
“You dumb settler fool! Your Yoda i am, to TEACH you here i am and come at me, you, like i’m some sort of PEST! Sheesh! Skywalker NOT taught this time!”