It is 8 am and I've found my way to the place I sit with clients; a small carriage house nestled along an alley in downtown Boulder. The distant hum of traffic, delivery trucks, school buses and somber children walking along the sidewalk to their first day of school surf the thin cool morning air without obstruction. Everything is pristine today. Razor sharp.
My older son Henry and I left the house just moments before this one, also somber but somewhat hopeful as we both anticipated his first day of a new school, the big high school in town. He chose to transfer from a smaller less conventional one to this one with 3000 kids and a reputation for drugs and sex. It is where his friends are. Adolescence is about the pack, the tribe, moving as an organism and finding your own individuality within a crowd to whom you belong. It is about being witnessed and mirrored, noticed for who you are in the world, acknowledged for why you're here. This, of course, is not what is happening in our culture for our adolescents. But it is what they long for, need and attempt to find despite what we have created for them. I watch Henry, tall and independent, as he walks into a crowd as if he is an offering, and disappears.
Moments later I pull up here, in front of my office. On the ground underneath the beautiful tall pine that shades the main house, just feet from me, is a fat red tailed hawk perched atop a freshly killed morning dove. The dove's head is thrown back in a dramatic pose of sacrifice, like she has died proudly. I hear the 'ca-coo-coo ca-coo-coo' of the other doves as they stay hidden high in the branches above, watching this carnage. The hawk is sharp and wary, turning to me with a puffed up chest, flapping his wings as if to say, "you'll need to find your own....I'm not sharing." I watch him for minutes as he plucks the downy breast feathers from his breakfast-of-champions and then, perhaps feeling too scrutinized, he gracefully lifts himself and his warm meal into the air and out across the rooftops into a nearby tree, trailing feathers as he goes, like gently falling snow.
I arrive at the door of my carriage house, unlock it, walk in and say "hello" to the place, which by now is a partner of mine in this process of sitting in witness and as guide for all the people with courage enough to come speak their truth. I head straight for the doors that lead out onto the patio, open the voile curtains and slide the door open to let this pristine air come wash the room of its night time dreaming. My eyes are met by the brown deep eyes of the doe who sometimes comes to eat the apples and ferns in this private courtyard. She has been sleeping here all night - at least she has the look of one who is just waking up after being tucked down. She watches me as I watch her, silently offering my gratitude. I feel my breath move deeper into my torso, my ribcage expand, my heart loosen and my eyes soften with tears.
As I sit and write this and continue to watch her, the weekly garbage truck comes roaring down the alley and I feel my breath catch in my chest. The sun has just made its blazing copper way through the trees and her big dark eyes are now illuminated a brilliant amber. Feeling such a devotion to her and the fact of her continued company over the last many months I ask out loud, "will you leave now?" But she continues to lie quietly in her nest, chewing her breakfast carefully and contemplatively as if nothing has changed. I keep my eyes glued to her, watching for cues as to how to cope with a thing like a roaring garbage truck on a quiet morning, how to cope with the fact of garbage trucks at all. Still, through the clattering, crashing of metal and shifting of gears she is unruffled. As if she knows not to fear the creations, just the creator. I am reminded that I am the creator as I watch her shift uncomfortably each time I change my position on the couch (a sound that is imperceptible to my ears compared to the cacophony of the garbage truck).
Slowly she rises on her golden stilt legs, nuzzles the ground for one last morsel, gracefully navigates her way down the buff stone steps and across the patch of blossoming thyme, too early in the morning to be alive with honey bees. I watch as she makes her long-legged way down the alley and toward the mountains.