Wake up! No ketchup necessary.

A beetle woke me up this morning. I was sitting in the kitchen and it came in through the dog door. Just hit the wall suddenly, with a buzz. Like an alarm clock, only I wasn’t asleep- at least not in the usual way. I was only asleep to the animals.

When I am awake to the animals I am spending a lot of time outdoors. Those things go together. Today went to the creek for the second day in a row…the fact that I’m saying it that way makes me realize how little I have been going lately. As I walked down the winding path, two crows landed on the branch above me. This seems to happen a lot.

I choose to consider it an encouraging sign: I have been making a concerted effort to be kind to the crows ever since my friend Melanie told me about how they put out a hit on her husband and he was tailed and bombed all over town until he made an offering of Ritz crackers and ketchup with elaborate bows on his back porch.

Melanie’s husband has recently passed away. I didn’t know until I saw her at writing group a couple weeks ago and the pain of the loss was like a chord thrumming in her. Maybe that’s why I’m remembering the crows and not talking about the beetle, which I looked up later. Maybe I am remembering the crows because Melanie’s husband is dead and crows are “psychopomps.” I love this word so much. It means a guide or mentor who leads one through transformations, including death.

I was going to talk about the beetle. I even looked it up and, in picking up my field guide and learning that it is a Brochymena, I learned that it often lives in orchards, which made me feel much more kindly towards it. In picking up my field guide, I also turned my attention to the tiny details of now, to really seeing what is before me, which is how I am when I am awake to the animals, which is a kind of transformation. The crows at the creek swooped over my head, one then the other. I bowed and put a dog treat on the edge of the path and then turned and walked down the long slope toward the water.