Gifts from The Middle of Nowhere

I had a poem queued up to post; it has been awhile and I am just now getting back to writing after months of settling into our new digs. And then things transpired that I wanted to share with you, dear readers. We bought this ranch last July in the midst of Covid, and still I wonder what our purpose might be in having been strongly guided here, far from our island home.

We are, quite literally, in the middle of nowhere like never before. Since arriving to the sounds of coyotes circling the house at dusk, elk leaving signs they had visited near our door, red tail hawks circling and flying, seeming to observe all we do, inside and out …

Then there was that time we sat in the upstairs bedroom, gazing out over the vast forests and fields, when a squirrel hopped out of the stately red cedar where we hang our bird feeders, onto the roof, only to have a hawk (The Hawk as she has come to be known) swoop down, scoop it up, stare intently at us on the other side of the window, and fly away, our mouths literally agape with wonder. It might seem a challenging place to ‘make a living,’ but most assuredly, this is The place to make a life for ourselves. For nature lovers like us, this high desert proves to be filled with undisputed wonder.

Shortly after arriving, walking up into the forest I spied a tiny horned toad that was easy to grasp and hold in the palm of my hand. Sauntering down into the fields months later, I scooped up not one, but two snake skins, one big, one small like mother and baby, mom showing junior how to slither out of his skin. In the midst of clearing brush, a huge older red tail hawk’s nest obviated itself in the midst of the dense, thorny growth. And through it all, there was The Hawk, circling and calling, circling and observing the goings-on on what is clearly her home turf. Yesterday she alighted in a nearby Ponderosa, invisible but keeeer-ing, all the same. I whistled back in imitation. She called again. I whistled. Chris was nearby, and said it was a call he never heard her use before. To my mind, she was clearly communicating for the sheer fun of it. Then there was the flicker at the feeder, and flicker feathers I find, here and there.

A couple of weeks ago, we were down clearing thorny scrub from the acequia (irrigation ditch the Spaniards dug by hand back in the 17th century; most are still in use today), when a herd of red cows with their babies materialized to watch us through the neighbor’s fence. I slowly walked up to them, cooing and cajoling, and one in particular, Number 50 as her ear tag displayed, seemed most curious and brave. She was skittish at first, but soon relaxed into chewing her cud. Days later whilst walking back uphill from the neighbor’s, I spied a red cow in our own fenced field. With me walking and Chris in the truck, we gently rounded her up and back into her own pasture, where her baby awaited to nudge and bump some milk from a slackening udder. All the time, her eyes were on us. I joked with Chris, saying she must have been beaming into our brains, ‘I need a break from this little brat!’ As we repaired the neighbor’s rugged fence section placed across the ditch, she wandered over to inspect. First she tried to broach it with her head, and when that didn’t work, she leaned her considerably bulk into it, to no avail. We thought that was that.

Yet this morning, we awoke not to the usual bird song, but to a protracted ‘mooooo,‘ coming from just outside the window. She seemed to have sensed our regard, for she turned on her heels and slowly made her way across seven acres of field, back to the herd. When we went to inspect our fence line repairs, nothing seemed amiss. But one could see how she had found a corner of the ditch fence portion and somehow tucked under it. Both ways. After further repairs, we’ll see what awaits us tomorrow morning. But frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised to rise and see her munching outside our window, once again.

Where the elk left their gifts.
Elk far in the distance.
The acequia – the cows materialized at the end of this stretch.
Elk – again, far away in the neighboring field.
Flicker at the feeder.
Baby ‘horny toad.’

26 thoughts on “Gifts from The Middle of Nowhere

  1. Bela…. BLISS! is where you are my friend.. Among Nature and out in the wilds.. Tough at times I am sure to coexist with Nature in her rawness… But beautiful none the less…
    I have no doubts in my mind at all, you were divinely guided to be where you need to be.. And your blurb… “Wanderer, mystic, lover of this earth, home designer!”……….. Speaks volumes of YOU…. And the gifts given not from no where… But from Natures heart, for another with Heart to see them…

    Love and Blessings dear Bela.. Lovely to read you again.. ❀ ❀ ❀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. And wonderful to see your comment, dear Sue! Yes, time will tell how the practical matters play out. πŸ˜‚ we have a huge unfinished adobe house that I would love to finish and invite Time of the 6th Sun people, among others. It is an amazing place to observe and share. Again, time will tell. Sending you love and blessings. πŸ™πŸ’žβ€οΈπŸ’•

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Now I can see the Time of the 6 th Sun coming out… Did you know Theo has moved to Bali with his family??? He followed his heart and things just slotted into place.. Like you.. Meant to be.. ❀ Love and Hugs back Bela xx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post! My husband and I bought a house in a forest at the base of a mountain and our move is a very gradual one. No cows but a few acres with a stream and deer. We are moving pickup truck by pickup truck but every time we’re there we hate to leave and feel more at home.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m so glad for you! I wish we could’ve done that, but we came from Hawaii and had to ship a container and my husband’s truck. Landing in Seattle, promised a date that never materialized, so we rented a car after 2 wks with 2 country dogs in various bnb’s and left for our home in New Mexico, only to discover the next day the truck had landed in port. All of this in the midst of Covid.

      I wish it could’ve been easier, but it was what it was. Enjoy your new home! And thanks for dropping by and commenting!

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  3. What a wonderful story! All animals have much more to tell us than we are usually ready to hear. I live on a city street of mixed high rises and tenements, but every morning, and sometimes evenings, I hear a flicker. I envy you your close proximity! He has not yet shown himself to me. (K)

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    1. Kerfe, have you read any Helen MacDonald? In her book H is for Hawk, I believe, she mentions meeting a fellow ornithology type on top of a skyscraper in New York City to observe the migratory birds that come through at night. If you are in NYC, these are old migratory routes and there are species and numbers of birds that nobody ever sees because of the city. Anyhow, I found it quite fascinating. Cool you hear a flicker there, and it would’ve surprised me before I read her works.

      Yay. Be well! πŸ™πŸ’•

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I did read that book, and enjoyed it very much. One apartment where I lived cranes used to fly quite close by the window. I’m always looking up and around to locate birds I hear, but most people pay no attention.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. A wonderful write, Bela, and the photos are amazing as well. Birds and animals alike like to be talked to. I have done it for years and many respond in kind when I mimic their calls, so not surprising you would have a response. Years ago, now, when I was girl in CA, I found a horned toad and brought it home. I was always doing things like that…not my brothers. I made what I thought to be a natural habitat in a large cardboard box. But my mother had other ideas. She did not like to see it captive and when I came home from school one day it was gone. It could not have jumped the height of the box in order to escape so I knew mom had let it go. I love your photo of you holding the horned toad. Brings back memories. You have some wonders happening and with each new day I know you must look forward in anticipation as to what may happen. Take good care.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much, Renee. I am so sorry that your mother took your horned toad away. We kept one as a pet as kids. If my parents did nothing else, they let us keep every animal under the sun. They were big animal lovers, themselves, and wanted to teach their kids to love animals as well.

      Be well, and always good hearing from you, dear one. πŸ™β€οΈ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mom loved animals but also believed in her heart that they should be left to their freedom. That said, her favorite place to visit was the San Diego Zoo because she so longed to be able to see all of the animals and birds in Nature that she loved. Be well.

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