Embracing the Sky

Just because it’s all they’ve ever known doesn’t mean it’s all they know.

This was a thought, post grief, after observing for myself creatures my child self deemed mystical: kookaburra, wombat, wallaby, koala; none in a feral state, of course. Which brought up those old feelings around zoos. Part of me loved resting eyes on these amazing critters, discovering the wombat’s scratchy spots and loving her up until helpless, she rolled onto her back, delightfully digging in the dirt and forgetting for a split second that she had to protect, disengage, go back to pacing back and forth so hundreds upon thousands of hands could stroke her moist back and she could keep on moving away, away. The other part of me returned to our hotel where tears would not stop flowing, a silent protest at caging and now having to sequester what once roamed freely and would still, were it not for those of our species who simply will not respect and love what is wild in our world. What of wonder? What is left to wonder about?

Then like streamers released from a barnstormer, we spotted them, hundreds of flying foxes soaring over Sydney harbor as the sun fanned out and swiveled its flaming bald head away from the first chilly crisp of fall day. Out they surged in scattered flocks, an occasional stray, to bash their heads into foliage and suck nectar where they might claim it in towering fruiting figs amidst high rises and yacht-ringed shorelines. There are still cultures that claim their meat a delicacy.

We must take care in our assumptions of the wild ones, we cannot tame the world simply because being in the world, we have chosen to cull our own sense of wildness. I am not alone in suspecting it is this disconnection that fuels all sorts of ills that plague humankind. Yet there is ever a way back, a means to reclaim a life that nourishes and supports us as it sustains all living beings and the planet, herself.

The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.

~Clarissa Pinkola Estes


[Photo of where we went to see the flying foxes on our last night in Sydney. They came streaming into the trees here, but to capture them on camera was impossible. So we just watched and listened.]

22 thoughts on “Embracing the Sky

  1. Australia 😊 We have so many wild animals here and a lot of them do still roam free and wild in the outback or bushland areas. ‘We cannot tame the world’ that is so true. At the end of the day, we will go where we want to go, roam to our hearts content and see things we’ve never seen. I think that is what many creatures in the outback or birds long to do and do…they leave us wondering on the ground what we could possibly do if we were brave enough to soar 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mabel, you always put a positive spin on everything, bless your heart. I wonder if you see more wilds where you are – Sydney is so spread out, it seems like loss of habitat is everywhere. Our driver to the Blue Mountains is from there – moved down to Sydney for ease of work for both he and his wife. He says he used to spot any number of animals up there, but it’s rare anymore. I suspect ‘civilization’ is fast encroaching, for there are commuters that live that far away from the city. And they are making the highway wider by lanes.

      I love your observations about wild creatures – they clearly inspire you. So wonder has not left you, which warms my heart. Aloha, dear Mabel! ❤


      1. I live in the city in Melbourne, but do go to the quieter areas every now and then. Occasionally I’ll see an animal or two…but it is not all the time. I think you are right that so many parts of Oz are becoming modernised…maybe it’s time we slowed down. Aloha right back at you 🙂

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      2. Yes, I think the world’s getting far too crowded for sanity, some days. So it’s good some love city life, leaving the wild places for the rest of us. But these wild places are shrinking fast :*(
        Love to you Mabel ❤

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  2. That’s a tremendous opening statement, Bela, the truth of which we might do well to often remind ourselves of. Imagine if wild creatures could write stories, as we human animals can. They’d scare us to the core, and deliver us senseless in trying to comprehend the raw immediacy of their worlds. Those would be the things they’ve known, but what they also know is how to live with them. Beautifully written, as always, by your wild hand. Blessings on the day, dearest Bela. H ❤


    1. Hariod, I think my next missive will be about You! (Only half joking, but a poem began shaping itself as I read your comments.) I’ve never had eyes set upon my words like your own, save perhaps in college with one professor. You are a reader writers dream about – one who actually focuses and attends to one’s most intimate meaning. For that I bow to you in thanks, again and again – for I feel truly blessed we are able to exchange thoughts and ideas here on WP.

      That opening statement really says it all, at least to me. Having spent more of my life than not with horses, I can say for sure that, should they choose, they could stomp their pitiful human/s to death or at least cripple them for life. And many people deserve this, the way they treat their charges. We’ve rescued a gray wolf, and he was an amazingly wild being who chose to stay within boundaries on our Maine woods acreage. He did not run deer, nor did he run off – though he certainly could have. When we swam, he would follow us along the shorline, dashing through trees, under brush and over boulders, poking his head out to check in, from time to time. I spoke with him as I do with all animals in pictures, and he ‘got’ it. So it naturally occurs to me that any recently or non-domesticated specie retains much of its wild nature, if subdued for the food it requires to live – the mandate to survive is still strong.

      As I cannot insert images into this comment thread, I would invite you to view my public Facebook album of photos from our trip (and scroll quickly if you wish – there are over a hundred images there) – and note the look on the face of the raptor, especially its eyes: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10209199053389088.1073741958.1103291483&type=1&l=1651376484

      This breaks my heart. There’ s an I’o (Hawaiian hawk) in the Hilo Zoo on this island, and the look is the same. An utterly broken spirit.

      The difference with humans is that we opt for this loss of wildness, we find the means to obtain the keys to our own conditional seclusion, and then when we choose, we pay our way to view creatures who exhibit traces of what we, ourselves have lost, creatures with no option left but to remain caged. Surely they know something vital has been taken from them, whether or not they act out any sort of rebellion. Even the pythons in their glass cages, winding fruitlessly in an attempt to protect their solitary nature must yearn for a distant tree in which to skitter up and never again descend. It takes a sort of willful cutting off of our own wild branches in order to domesticate others as well, I think. We cut and cull until we can justify most anything. But I am certain that in those actions, in that progessively numb and number state, we hurt ourselves, most of all. We are the Tree of Life that excises its own vital appendages, including its roots. We cataract our vision and dull our senses to the point where we leave this amazingly bless-ed place like wraiths who need only to shed their husk of body in order to roam the middle worlds in perpetual misery. (Of course I have no concrete knowledge of same, this is simply metaphor.) And still.

      It’s taken me four solid days of mad gardening around here to ground myself back to Mother Nature after flying halfway across the world. As one of those who “love[s] the sky and the water so much [I] almost cannot bear it,” it’s as vital as breath. And so from one rambler to another, I will stop here. But I suspect you know and sense every world I’ve written, dearest Hariod. Sending you warm hugs and bright greetings from my green and growing world. Love, Bela


      1. What a fabulous trip! I viewed them all, Bela, and loved the tree face (the natural one, I mean, rather than the carving). Amusing signs those Aussies use, eh? You and Chris both look radiant and as content as that dozing koala! Take care, dearest Bela. H ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Aww – yes, tree face jumped right out and the signs were funny, for sure ;0) I had more photos as well, but in the transfer to Facebook these black squares kept appearing in certain of them – you might have noticed – not sure why the pixels were clotting up like that. Sigh. Technlology!!! oxo

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    1. Aloha, Val and yes, wild self for sure! This is why I quoted Pinkola-Estes, my fellow Vermont College alumnus who wrote Women Who Run with the Wolves, a must-read for all women wanting to reclaim that kind of primal earth connection.

      Glad you found my post inspiring, and many thanks for taking time to offer your feedback ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. If only Animals could speak.. I know they do. but if we could understand their language.. I wonder what the Elephants, Tigers and Whales and Dolphins would say… ?? I dislike cages too Bela.. imagine the world of freedom being taken from you to pace back and forth. To have others peer at you throw food and flash cameras at you all day..

    While in some instances I know conservation is being done to help species in decline.. But I am reminded of the culling of the Giraffe in Copenhagen Zoo of a healthy young male.. We play God..
    We are the ones who have upset the balance within Nature.. And I think it may well be we who become the endangered species in the future Bela..

    Thought provoking post.. Australia is on my wish list.. 🙂 lol.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aloha Sue – I know you are a kindred spirit with all creatures, as am I. Anyone who tends the ground and urges life from its depths has an animal’s soul, I think.

      While I didn’t know about the giraffe, I agree that we play God in sometimes frightening ways.

      Australia never was on either of our ‘lists,’ but we got such a good deal from the islands that we went. If we return, it will likely be to a place like Alice Springs where we can participate a bit in the lay of the land and the culture more than we did in Sydney. And for sure we would go for longer than a week! But no regrets. Hope you get where you wish to go in this wide world before traveling becomes even more cumbersome than it already is. 3 hours in airports coming and going seems quite a price to pay for a ‘getaway!’

      Sending you blessings, dearest Sue ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am happy you got away Bela.. We have friends who went out to Australia to live. So you never know!… 🙂 We are getting away up to Scotland again ‘soon’ We would always fly abroad and have been lots of places.. But as you get older, especially my hubby, he can not be doing with all the hassle that goes with it today. So this year at least we are exploring more of our favorite places in the UK.. 🙂 Sending Hugs right back.. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, we do our share of ‘staycations’ – and you’ve certainly got some lovely places to go right there in the UK. I hope to get back there again one day before too long. ooxoo

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