Not Alone

Before training I used to go to the beach at the end of nearly every day, to look at the sea and think of home. I used to see owls, rodents, ravens and sometimes lynxes, walking from the bus stop to the sea. On my way one day I decided not to play by the water, but to simply sit and watch. To look at everything happening and not happening. To see everything change and remain still. The sun wore a thick orange tint and the wind blew warm, with the occasional wet gust to cool my neck. A spot close to the sand path looked good and I sat down. The sand was still hot on the surface but the deeper I dug my feet in the more at ease they felt. I let my thighs drop to each side, burying them in the comfort and firm give of the toasty sand. About a minute or two into this meditation of sorts a presence called me to look behind.

There, on top of the hill ten or so meters away, stood a beautiful lynx. It seemed young. After a few blinks getting its sight used to the horizon it licked its nose, tuning its sense of smell and turned its head my way. Our eyes meet. I didn’t know what it was thinking, but in my flawed human tendency to anthropomorphize animal expression and movement (or in this case the lack thereof) I’d say it had come to do the same exact thing as I. It looked at me with its bright green-yellow eyes half-greeting, half-examining my appearance and movement in return. Was it gauging my strength? Was it expecting me to blink? Did it not care?

What was it thinking?

I had never seen one up that close before. After a few moments of attentive assessment its ears relaxed. It scanned the rest of my body as I did the same to it, noticing a certain vulnerability, perhaps caused by the sun’s searing energy not quite yet ready to let out. I too, felt it, almost simultaneously. I don’t remember what I was wearing that day, but it was probably something green and brown or gray. But did that matter? Was the lynx even aware of the concept of clothing? A drop of sweat slid down my face, tickling me out of my fancy as I swallowed to ease the dryness in my throat.

The lynx then looked out into the the horizon and the intensity in its eyes softened into a mute plea for… Continuation. A kind of “fullness” with a tinge of melancholy. If it had been a human it could have just as well have been looking at the scenery, sighed, and quietly added “yeah” while nodding its head. What was it thinking? I continued looking at it, mesmerised; paying attention to every detail and every little hair that the wind unsettled, always going back to the green and yellow of its gaze, powerful as it was elegant.

Once the colour in its eyes changed I turned around to see the sun had begun setting. It looked as peaceful and rewarding as every time I’d come to see it, but that time I hadn’t been by myself. I had shared that entire moment with another living being. The last light of the day filled me, drawing a smile on my face. I turned around to silently thank my unlikely companion, but its shape had left the top of the hill.

Part of me wished I had known a way to call it back where it had stood for just a moment longer but that wasn’t a call for me to make. I kept my smile, looked back at the sunset and dug my right hand into the sand. I closed my fist and brought the sand between my knees and let it run through my fingers, watching it go back to where it came from, the whole time wondering:

What was it thinking?”

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