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The First Cathedral, With Angels

It’s Easter Sunday morning and I am sitting behind my house, near the liminal space marking the border between the garden and the Wild Wood.

Can you see that little face? Photo by Ron Davis

I am watching for the foxes. The vixen and her three kits.

For several years a family of foxes has taken up residence in the complicated, many-entranced den where once the groundhog lived.

The light here is dappled, sparkling through the almost-unfurled pale green leaves overhead. It is deliciously warm, but not too hot, and since most everyone else is off at church, it seems, it is luxuriously quiet. The birds sing, though. Music from wrens, the harshly hilarious cawk of crows and woodpeckers, the twitter of sparrows and robins and tits and cardinals and the bully-cry of bluebirds. The air smells of the heavy rain we had yesterday, a whiff of frankincense I burned to honor the day, the rich promise of warming earth, and a tiny whisper of musk from the fox den.

Be still. I tell myself. Be here.

If I want to visit with the foxes now, I must be close, less than seven feet. As close as I can get without breaching the boundary. Beyond that, they are just a rare, nearly-invisible flash of brownish red next to the rust-colored earth and the veil of green that sprung up over the past few days.

Be still. Wait. Good things are coming.

And then, up pops a wee head with black-tipped ears. I make a tiny clicking noise with my tongue. The kit, being the more curious of the three, tilts her head this way and that and then hops forward a few feet to the top of the den and sits up as pretty as any Crufts Championship terrier.

Hello, my angel. Hello.

We gaze at each other for a moment or two. The pup sniffs the air. Sniffs me, really. Then, seemingly satisfied I am not a threat, plops down just as my dog does, with head on paws, and goes to sleep.

Is there anything more holy than a wild creature sleeping near you, trusting you are not foreign, but family? Not foe, but friend?

Cathedral Forest. | All Things Magical | PinterestI know a woman, Sister Rita, SSJ, who tells me the woods, the wild places, are the first Cathedrals. I believe her. That’s been my experience. It only follows then, that the wild things who live there are the angels and saints, sculpted, painted by the Creator’s hand, God and Goddess both.

It’s been a difficult period. Friends have been suffering terribly from depression, friends have passed, others grieve. It is the anniversary of the death by suicide of my two brothers. There have been catastrophic fires in Louisiana black churches and a Paris cathedral. Today bombs exploded in churches in Sri Lanka, killing many. Politics have become cruel, as fascism and racism and bigotry and misogyny take hold. Holy families are turned away from man-made borders.

And yet, life returns. Back in that deepest mid-winter night, when that first glimmer of returned light was noted, we were promised it would come back to us, and now, here it is.

In the face of a small, sleepy fox cub, I see the promise fulfilled. Look, it says. Listen, it says. Notice and be still. The cycle returns. I left so that I might work on behalf of Life, and now the work that can only be done in the darkness is complete, and I return, as I will, always and forever. 

And so I sit and rest and pray with the fox and her children. Grateful and filled with the sanctified world vibrating all around me.

S/HE HAS RISEN!

Indeed. 

He Has Risen – Derryck Green

Photo by Derryck Green

13 Comments

  1. Joan Robb on April 21, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    Just beautiful!

    • Lauren B. Davis on April 21, 2019 at 2:19 pm

      Thanks, Joan.

  2. Annwn on April 21, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    This is beautiful Lauren. Thank you. ❤️

    • Lauren B. Davis on April 21, 2019 at 2:20 pm

      That’s very kind, Annwn. Thanks.

  3. Annie Mountain on April 21, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    Such a deep connection to community, our earth, the loving innocents of this world. Your honor of the sacred would let a venomous creature trust you, since you honor what they are.
    Spirit, life and newness indeed bring us back to the true church, which is a gathering of praise for everyone and everything thoughtfully created. In our shared mourning, we are called and invited to be present with that which ignites our hearts and enhances our belonging. Ron captured the wonderous kit and I trust more to come…

    • Lauren B. Davis on April 21, 2019 at 2:55 pm

      Love to you, Annie.

  4. Ron Davis on April 21, 2019 at 3:04 pm

    So lovely! I sat in the same spot and your words capture the feeling perfectly.

  5. Penn Kemp on April 21, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    Sweet kits, in such a large context. Cathedrals and cathedral forests on fire. But fox haunts:) Blessings…

    • Lauren B. Davis on April 21, 2019 at 6:29 pm

      I am told FOX HAUNTS will be in my hands in a few days. I can’t wait!

  6. BuriedInPrint on April 22, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    Such alert ears (in the photo)! And a lovely story.

    It was, I think, in a story by L.M. Montgomery, that I first found a reference to the woods being a sacred place, and I remember being grateful in that moment that someone else felt the same way about wild places (as a young reader who hadn’t met any people in the “real world” who shared that view).

    Glad you have this space.

    • Lauren B. Davis on April 22, 2019 at 4:53 pm

      I feel very lucky to have this garden, and these co-inhabitors! Wild places… how we need them.

  7. Lynne Davis on April 25, 2019 at 11:34 pm

    OMG, Lauren- you have truly captured life and hope and creation at its best. I feel blessed to have read and languished in your beautiful prose and spirit. Thank you.

    • Lauren B. Davis on April 26, 2019 at 9:27 am

      Thanks, Lynne. I’m glad it meant something to you.

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