Something happens when one has lived long enough (with intention) on one piece of land. There is a deepening of relationship between person and place, as if the land finally accepts you as one of its own.
When I approach this land with reverence and gratitude; when I eat the wilds of the land and of foods grown with its waters ; and when I sit in silence and listen in stillness, the land begins to trust me. The creatures come nearer without fear, the noises of the woods and fields resume around me. I am no longer a tourist or visitor; I belong here.
The ravens are nesting again in the same place they nest every year. Squawking youngsters wake me each morning. As soon as they fledge, they eat out of the compost pile and the dogs have a new job to do: protecting the precious compost. We become familiar, raven and human, and each day when I empty the compost bucket, they hop a few feet away and wait. They, like coyotes, are opportunists. They can and will find food elsewhere if they have to but have discovered that if they wait nearby someone gives them fresh scraps every day.
Tonight, in the field next to the house, a bull elk grazed quietly. Sometimes, we get headlamps and go out to see; he (and others) come throughout the year at different times. Next month, they will begin to rub their antlers on the trees to loosen the velvet, but at this point their antlers are still growing.
Last week while on a run through the pinon-juniper forest the dogs darted into the trees. They barked then became silent and when I rounded the corner it was me, the two dogs and a young bull elk standing in a 25' diameter circle. When standing that close to a large antlered creature, one should not move. Even the dogs stood still. We looked at one another and it trotted away. These experiences nourish me (almost daily) on this land; this is where I can be a part of what feels real.