My May Day outing to the arboretum two days ago continued to inspire me with just how lush and fertile the earth becomes when the Sun makes its annual trek through Taurus.
Besides the vision of so many flowers in bloom, that visit gave me a wealth of memorable encounters with wildlife.
While eating my lunch on a bench in the Fragrance Garden, two little birds kept me company as they hopped around on the paving stones and pecked at fallen petals, dropped seeds from nearby trees, and the earthen spaces in between the stones.
Later, while walking by the lake, geese were gliding through the water, and ducks were quacking quietly in the distance. Taking the way around the lake brought me face to beak with a Canada goose that stood in the middle of the path. After slowing my footsteps, it let me continue on and pass by about four feet from where it stood. Its unperturbed presence inspired me to stop and watch its mate, who was in the water, and another pair of geese swimming nearby.
With me standing absolutely still, the goose on the path went back to its business. It walked about on enormous webbed feet whose green-black color reminded me of army gear. Its spindly legs seemed inadequate to carry its copious torso, which wobbled widely to and fro as the goose walked, like a woman of the 19th century wearing a huge bustle.
Suddenly the goose twitched its tail feathers three or four times, defecated, and then continued walking down the path. Joined by its mate, the two geese gorged on green plants growing near the water's edge. Then one put its beak in the water and breathed out, stirring up the water, most likely in search of interesting edibles. After a few more underwater outbreaths, the pair plopped back into the water and glided away.
Continuing my walk after that brought me around a bend and into a clearing. In the distance, a little island appeared decked out in big oval beads because of all the turtles sitting there and sunning themselves.
After returning to the car, it was time to close my visit with a drive through both the west and east grounds before heading to the exit. On the west side, as the terrain shifted from prairie to woods, an adult white-tailed deer bounded in front of my car to join another adult deer and then looked back where it had come.
Something prompted me to stop…and sure enough, a third deer appeared. This one was small, probably the child of the other two, and after it reached its parents safely, its worried mama relaxed and settled in to plucking up an enormous green plant, its leafy ends protruding two feet on either side of her mouth as she munched. All three continued their feast, their tails flapping.
Through the open windows, birdsong of all types reached my ears, and after a time the deer walked off into the woods. Resuming my drive through the grounds, a robin stood like a sentinel by the side of the road. For the rest of my tour, robin after robin appeared, either flying in front of the car or hopping right at the side of the road. The only break in my red-breasted company came from two bluebirds zooming together through the sky near a stand of magnolias.
Like an echo, my wildlife encounters continued after returning home, bringing an even stronger reminder of Taurus and its deep fertility. Two rabbits greeted me in my backyard, and like the goose on the path, they stayed put despite my arrival. They moved only when my footsteps brought me near the back door, and even then they simply moved off a few feet and then planted themselves in the garden.
Seeing them there, so uncharacteristically confident of their place in the world and their right to be in the yard, made me smile. My heart sent them thoughts of peace and welcome and thanks for extending my adventurous afternoon with so many of the earth's creatures.
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