I’ve been contemplating the reality of Nature lately. The reason is that we recently had three dogs come into our yard and attack our chickens. We live on a road with one other house on it, and they have no dogs. So this was a completely random event. My husband and I had never seen these dogs before. At first, he thought it was a coyote because we often see those on our land. But then the other two dogs took chase as well.
I was in the bathroom at the time, so I missed the chaos and the yelling from my husband. However, when I arrived on the scene, I saw feathers scattered all over the yard. My first thought was that all of our chickies had been destroyed. I immediately burst into tears at this thought and bawled for several minutes before pulling myself together.
I had been emotionally prepared for the day when we would lose a chicken to a coyote or a hawk. Ever since I started raising chickens two years ago, we would lose a chickie or two to these two predators. But, I was not ready for this random act of violence from a pack of domesticated dogs. Unfortunately, this is the reality of Nature. Just as it is beautiful, it is also tragic.
For many years Nature has been where I have taken my solace. It is where I go to be nurtured and made whole. Yet Nature is more than the trees and the flowers that I love so much. Nature is also death and destruction.
This experience had me questioning my belief system. I grew up Catholic and was taught there is only one god, and He was up in the sky somewhere judging my every thought and deed. When I entered Alcoholics Anonymous over 30 years ago, I was encouraged to choose a god of my understanding, and I chose Her. So, I immersed myself in the Goddess. I became a Wiccan. The natural world became my church, but only the pretty parts.
I knew the angry, terrible, and destructive part of Her nature existed, but I wouldn’t let it touch me because I did not want to see it. I wanted only the light instead of the dark. I had had enough darkness for one life.
Yet we cannot exist in the light without embracing the darkness. This encounter with the dogs brought this home to me unexpectedly. You could say it was my come to Jesus, or in this case, Goddess moment.
This experience has deepened my understanding of Nature. At first, I was angry that a domesticated animal would ravage our flock in this way. But once I remembered that today’s domestic dog originated from wolves, I remembered. These dogs were doing what came naturally to them. Not because they were bad dogs but because they remembered their wild nature.
I, too, have a wild nature. She lays hidden within the confines of my own domestication. She wants to bust her chains and howl at the moon. Every day those chains weaken. The saddest part of this story is the chains are of my own design. I crafted them very carefully to navigate the world we live in and to feel safe. What is safety anyways, if not an illusion?
I no longer claim to be a Wiccan, as my spirituality is more Universal these days. But Nature is still my solace. So I will honor the dark side of Her and the darkness within myself, for She and I are one. To deny that part of myself would be to deny Her.
Della offers weekly zoom yoga classes, workshops, intuitive readings, and wellness coaching. You can find out more about her services here.