Elk and deer live around me, in the woods of my neighborhood, but I only see them at moments when I am not looking for them—when I am looking for something else, like a road sign, insight, approval, or a reason to flee the moment. That is when they appear—on a road, in a field—playing, jumping, banging antlers or sniffing the leaves. Upon sighting them, my mind’s chaos quietens. My breath stops until I realize its hold and exhale the wonder of such majesty.
The world becomes clearer. Cleaner. Wild but kind. Messy but cohesive without my anxious thoughts scattering the paint on the budding canvas. The moment. In that clarity, I am no longer a spectator, but instead, I become wrapped in the fold of the activity of the elk or deer. I feel my hands and feet deep in the earth as if I could prance, too, just like them. I remember the feeling the next time I cross that physical path, and I look for the elk and deer, hoping they will return and welcome me into their worlds once more.
I return home, wishing I could remake the moment that I so dearly miss, and my dogs look at me—deeply into my eyes—they see my longing to return to my wildness. They teach me how to prance, to graze, to sift the leaves, to connect with them, not glossing over the forest of my own spirit. There is majesty there, even when I try to ignore the present, hoping for the past to return. I can almost see it. The antlers dancing. The paws praying.