When I was younger I lived in much lower elevations and the spring came much earlier. That’s when you would find me moving through the forest silently in my barefeet. I never owned good hiking boots till I was over twenty years old and I was proud of my tough feet. I could walk through snow, on stone, on fire or glass and my feet would not damage easily.
I tiptoed through the forest and stepped not no branches. My head was up, my eyes were narrow, my ears were open and my mind was void. I learned to stop thinking while I was alone out there, in turn I started perceiving. I could hear blue jays in the imperceptable distance, crows further yet and squirells in the distance…their chatter told me a story and I always paid attention to it. Many times I was aware of the movements of other creatures in the forest because the smaller critters gave them away.
Many times I wandered with an open mind and open heart. In this way I learned to wander through darkness without fear in the forest. I could go to any place I desired around our property in the pitch black of night, with no flashlight and no fear. I would raise my left knee up and step straight down so as to not trip on the unseen tangles of the forest, then shimmy my right foot to catch up. While doing this my hands were out in front of me sweeping in the darkness for hidden branches and other entanglements. Perhaps it was a little slower then the average walk through the woods, but like a cat I embraced the darkness.
In the silence of my movements I could hear the other creatures in the forest around me be they raccoons, deer, wolves or whatever. Because I moved quietly I didn’t disturb the order of things around me, the animals kept their cool and allowed you to pass through like a ghost. When the moon is full the animals become more brazen in their movements and singing and partying. They see well with some moonlight and aren’t so pressed to keep themselves hidden, likewise one could walk through the forest and go where they like.
Most people smell like cosmetics to the animals. Some of them don’t like that kind of smell, they aren’t used to it. Other animals like to stink really bad, everyone else in the forest smells them and stays out of their way. Some of those big animals don’t like the smell of cosmetics, they figure it must mean some sort of opposition. Some of those animals don’t like big noise, some of them think that a big noise in their territory must mean they are being challenged. Some of them can be calmed down quickly by talking to them like children, some of them you must take charge of.
To be a bobcat in the wild means you must be totally in the moment and entirely present. Your mind is not wandering with thoughts of yesterday. You pay attention to every sound, every cloud, every color, every smell and everything that might change the game. The bobcat sits there, he just is. Their mind is a void and their senses absorb everything around them. They are ready to strike on a split seconds notice, they could just as easily yawn, they breathe calmly, their muscles and their minds are relaxed. To fight and kill means nothing to them. The only use fear has to them is a thermometer to further gauge the situation.
They have an attitude and they have a strategic mind bent on survival. They don’t want to be messed, when alerted to the presence of danger they take a different route to go where they will. They stay quiet, they hide, when found they come out with enough anger that they can buy time and space for an eventual escape. They are not the hunted and will not allow a hunter to have them without a heroic fight.
The bobcat is smaller than a lion or a lynx, but they size does nothing to soothe their aggression. The mountain lion and the lynx are more shy, the bobcat is more brazen. The wolverine is smaller than wolves or bears, but they stink and walk with a swagger to send the message ‘don’t bother messing with me’. Your fear is an enemy to you, it limits your ability to make a stand. It turns you into prey. Some of them hear your heart beating faster and faster, they hear your breathing speed up. They know you are scared, they know they are in control. They smell your fear and they feed on it.
Feel nothing, fear nothing. That is how you walk among them like a bobcat in the wild. Stay sharp, stay focused, stay mean, stay free….that is how I choose to be.