By Dawn King

Each morning brings a new opportunity to engage with Life. At Sunburst Sanctuary, we generally start the day in group meditation at the Temple, with residents and visitors (who are camping) in attendance. Most mornings find my husband, Al, and I joining in.

We live nearby on Sunburst’s large property, which is also a wildlife sanctuary. Because deer would eat all the landscaping, some yards and the Temple/Lodge area are fenced. Most mornings we walk to and from group meditations, taking a longer-than-necessary rout by staying on the all-weather road. In this way, we begin our day with a beneficial walk immersed in Nature.

Some mornings are quiet with fog shrouding the surrounding hills. But some days reveal the wild animals with whom we share this land. A recent November day was particularly spectacular.

Just beyond our yard, a flock of noisy turkey hens pecked through the numerous fallen leaves. They called to each other; some were up the hill, some at the edge of the field. A few flew over a fence, and into a neighboring yard. Al and I walked on.

Not far from home, we saw black shapes moving in the big field. These soon turned and ran on—wild pigs in their usual trek toward the neighboring property. Next there were grazing mule deer, often curious spectators to our daily walks. While eating, walking, or resting, they watch us off and on, and keep their distance. Most of them already know us as harmless passersby.

After morning meditation and during our walk home, normally there are fewer wild creatures to see, but this day was different. Right in the Lodge gardens, the whole flock of turkey hens had gathered. We were nearly stepping over them to make our way out of the side gate toward the campground. That was certainly unusual.

In another two minutes we were midway down the main road, and noticing a half-dozen deer running full tilt toward the Lodge. This was strange. We marveled at their graceful giant leaps, as though they had springs on their feet—Boing! Boing! Boing!—resembling the agile bounding of kangaroos. I wished my feet and legs were as springy.

Now they were turning to cross the road on either side of us. This was all taking place very quickly. Now we saw the reason for their flight. A beautiful, darkly marked coyote was tearing across the field in full pursuit. He didn’t even see Al and I; his gaze was fixed on the deer.

The coyote raced far enough behind, that I couldn’t imagine he or she would catch the deer. I said as much to Al, and he responded, “Maybe there’s more coyotes ahead laying in ambush.” Wow! Some wild drama was playing out before us, whatever the outcome would be.

Needing to walk on home, we imagined the deer got away; in fact I think I’ve seen the same group since then. Every day isn’t like this. Some days are so quiet you might be startled by a bird pecking in search of an insect, or a lizard scurrying away.

Most mornings we walk silently through the mist, or the breathtaking beauty of sunrise, lost in our own thoughts, or intensely engrossed in the joy of being immersed in Nature. If you would like to experience the wild beauty of a retreat at Sunburst Sanctuary, visit our “Upcoming” page sunburst.org/events for opportunities, or give the office a call.

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