Scene of the crime.
For over a year now we've been hiking a steep section of the redwood forest in the coastal mountains near Santa Cruz. Teeming with life all year 'round, there is lots to marvel at and photograph. But occasionally what starts out as mere exercise turns into an episode of Crime Scene Investigation. Death is evident, and clues are found, and my mind goes into overtime imagining what went down.
Parts of the abdomen and spine were found next to the mossy tree trunk.
Rumor has it that either a mountain lion or a large bobcat took down this young deer last year sometime. There's not much but clean bones left, and even some of those are missing. How horrifying for that deer, and for the mother that lost it. I think about it every now and then when I walk these woods, but I usually end up feeling very peaceful, that everything is as it should be. While a young animal died, another was allowed to avoid starvation and live. It's likely that more than one type of animal was able to feed off of this carcass. The forest was fed with the decomposing leftovers (what few there were), and somehow it seemed kind of...right, and as the Bigger Plan had intended. Nature is efficient, and wastes very little, and everything returns to the circle of life eventually. Nature does not need to go to the landfill.
I'm glad that we don't see things like this frequently, or I'd probably look for another place to walk. But it does give me something to think about on those long uphill stretches of the hike. How are human animals recycled, if at all? What meaning is left behind, after we're gone? How does the world become physically enriched if we're all neatly tucked into some kind of indestructible container buried deep underground? And most importantly, when my time comes, how will my presence here on earth give something back, and what shall be my legacy be? As an organ donor I'm hopeful that when my time comes others will have a chance at life or better health because of my gifts. And I'd like that the remainder be able to physically fertilize the earth of some places I've found dear.
You can be sure that Baba Yaga had this all figured out.
Here is a haiku for this moment:
She hungry, he too
stronger captures weak, survives.
life force is passed on.