The little girl, her grandfather, and I baited a borrowed trap for the woodchuck yesterday afternoon. This morning, I lay awake for a little, wondering if the woodchuck had tripped the trap, and what I would do with the animal if I had possession. When the bright-eyed little girl awoke, we ran up through the buckwheat and looked. The trap was still empty, the unpeeled banana beginning to rot.
Will the trap be empty tomorrow, or slammed shut with a furry and weighty creature within? I dread the thought of a crazed and wild animal thrashing in that narrow cage, but I’m also consumed with a curiosity, a sheer wonderment to meet this foe as near to me as possible, to see the sheen of its dark eyes, its lustrous pelt, its razor glinting teeth. For weeks now, this woodchuck has stalked my garden, devoured my chard in one meal, ransacked my tomatoes, tore off in a run whenever my steps approached. All around the edges of my world this creature has been at once elusive and visible.
To meet your nemesis face-to-face, not in combat, but to simply see, gaze upon the other’s face–what an experience that would be. Will a woodchuck be hunkered angrily in that cage tomorrow? Or a raccoon? An odoriferous skunk? Or perhaps merely the wind, whistling through, over decaying fruit.
I’m more and more aware that, as the ice recedes, this world we live in becomes more unlivable for humans. People need glaciers, just as glaciers now need us. Sudden crevasses in our lives can leave us helpless and alone, but we are never isolated for long. What makes up a glacier, I remember, is millions and millions of little snowflakes, reaching out to one another, grasping hands.
–– M Jackson, While Glaciers Slept