You never know what you will encounter in your day. A person maybe who sets you off, a sight that makes you cry, an encounter that starts a new life for you. To meet the unknown is stepping into the mysterious.
The tree limb was part of a circle of limbs around a water filled center, with a dead limb sticking up next to the hole as if it had missed its point of entry and died. The magic of this madrone was not only apparent to me as it was sitting on a narrow saddle between mountain peaks, giving view to undulating forested valleys and peaks all around, the Siskyou crest across the way. Who would not want to have this view?
I have always known that there are other creatures in the wild. To see the clear fresh marks of claws ascending on this tree limb to a perch high up, brought home the enormity of this creature’s power as it must have struggled to hoist its - what, six hundred pound? - weight up the tree. The smooth skin of the madrone that invites contact and stroking against the palm of a hand, was gouged, red tree blood markings, skin ripped. Real life in real wilderness.
I saw an eight foot black bear scoot across the trail last year, on a down hill slope, big, hairy body streaking by, and I still wonder if I really saw it, it went by so fast. No wonder that people have thought about Sasquatch, a mythical creature, Big foot, the hairy one, when they encounter evidence of an unseen or hard to see moving being. When humans meet the wild there is a shadow of the unreal, the mythical that passes over.
Seeing this Madrone, I met that mythical creature and bow to its realm. Leave it be, save its habitat, so I can keep believing in the impossible. So I can have encounters that change me.