Friday, August 26, 2016

The Grace of Shared experience

I am running the trail behind my house when a fox crosses my path. I know this fox. I resent her; I am enthralled by her. Her quickness. Her independence. That she dares to mess with me.

 I found her paw prints in the sand tray I placed in front of the hive when I discovered the  queen had stopped laying eggs. A fox will stand and swat at a hive, terrorizing the queen and aggravating the guards into action-right into the fox's mouth. The hive had almost dwindled to distinction. I barricaded the front of the hive with chicken coop wire, and the hive recovered.

 Since I last saw the fox and her pup, she's gotten bigger; her tail is longer, growing bushier as the temperatures descend into fall. From a short distance, she looks domesticated, like an unleashed dog who's run ahead of her master-- But yet, she is wild, frightening--capable of sinking her rabid canines into my fleshy thigh.

I fantasize taming her; walking into the garden and saying, "Why hello there little fox." She crosses her arms and reports she's been leaving the bees alone. "Proud of you," I wink. It seems so possible, but anthropomorphism is only a literary device and Dr. Doolittle doesn't talk to animals.

 When a mountain biker pushes up the hill, fox's instincts are quick, and she disappears from my path.  I could have observed her a little longer had it not been for the biker, yet I now have another distraction, and I watch him close.

His peddles pause as he watches her on a trail I can no longer see. He stays upright lingering, lingering, watching the fox.  He is fascinated too; I see it on his face.

He looks up at me; his glance stalls, and in our eye contact, he reminds me of a person on the beach who happens to catch the split second magic of a dolphin springing from the sea. The lucky observer's countenance lifts and he immediately turns, searching for his child or companion, or even a stranger with which to share his delight. It's as if awe is to heavy to hold and it must be shared like an unexpected taste or sound.

Encounters with the wild are serendipitous, even moments of grace; when we are touched by grace we feel compelled to share its light. It it is the very nature of grace, the unconditional giftt that bestows upon its recipient the desire to share meaningful  experience.  Grace requires grace of its recipient. Grace is a gift because it inspires us to give.