In an exchange of comments I mentioned a cave and it set to me thinking of my spelunking days – I was a spelunker long before I had heard the word or knew what it meant.
Caves held a fascination for me as a child and it didn’t make any difference if it were an ice cave or one of stone.
Got into a couple of tight spots but never entertained claustrophobia and always was able to wiggle my out.
At times I would find what I interpreted to be signs of human habitation, other times animal habitation and always trusted the hounds to sense any danger that might approach.
On one occasion I found a small curved piece of bone with unmistakable symbols carved into it I took to be part of bracelet.
When I proudly showed my mother and grandmother grandmother said she didn’t recognize any of the symbols and it could be something more than a bracelet or ornamentation and suggested I should return it.
Grandmother accompanied me when I did and marveled that I had even found the cave as it’s opening was small and obscured from view.
I explained I had just been scrambling around, stumbled upon it and decided to investigate – I returned my find where I had found it and grandmother sang a song and burned some sage explaining to any spirit that might be present that I was a child and meant no disrespect.
I’ve used the word admonish before but that wasn’t grandmother way – she would talk about something offering an opinion and ask what mine was, when a decision was reached the feeling was it was joint one or even my own – and so it was I never mentioned this cave or it’s location to anyone.
Years later and on my own I had been backpacking around visiting various ruins and sites in the Four Corners area – one day while hiking through some hills I came across an area where a person or persons had sat making arrowheads – there were flakes and even a couple of intact arrowheads along with the stone implements to make them.
A little farther on I found pot shards everywhere and small mounds rising from the ground.
It was late afternoon so I decided to make camp on what turned out to a something of a mystical night with a full moon.
As night settled in I lay on my back and fell asleep watching the moon make it’s way across the sky – a peaceful silent night save for the songs of coyotes.
I awoke in the morning to the sound of birds announcing the arrival of the sun, as I sat up I caught movement out of the corner of my eye and turning to look saw a young doe who bedded down a short distance from me who showed no fear as we looked at each other.
I don’t believe I ‘ve ever seen eyes with a greater depth or sensed a greater innocence.
I had thought to make coffee and have a biscuit when I awoke but somehow felt it would be out of place – so I emptied a bag of shelled walnuts I had in a pile for her, collected my gear and returned the way I had came.
I don’t know if all women are capable of this look, this doe eyes, but those who are when they look at you in this way it lends itself to a sense of well being, a feeling that all is well in the world and envelops you like a blanket, that perhaps innocence lost can be regained.
The time may come when vision fades and things become a little difficult to make out , hopefully should that day arrive the gift of doe eyes will not be obscured.