Kelli J Gavin
I grew up in Forest Lake, Minnesota, a beautiful, then small, wooded town. Our small, almost two-acre homestead was surrounded by tall, mature trees on every side. The jack pines by the main road snapped in half when the tornadoes came through. The huge pine trees bent when the winds threatened to uproot them. Birds of every kind, fox, coyotes, deer, and a few snakes, lizards and frogs would make themselves known often. They were wild animals that learned to tolerate human inhabitants. This was their land. Their home. Their playground. And we had the joy to share it with them.
I was awoken in the early morning hours more than once by my father. “Kelli, quick. Come to the window. Look!” Two bucks would be fighting it out in the backyard by my swing set.
“Kelli, look at the rabbits? They are obviously of two different breeds. One is small with small feet and ears and the other is huge with back feet the length of your arm and the ears touch the grass. I wonder if that one was someone’s pet?”
My father’s observations about nature and wildlife were endless. He would comment about the way the sun shone on the feathers of a huge black crow. He would admire the damage that was done overnight in the garden by some amazing animal on the prowl. My dad would put out salt licks for the deer so that we could watch the babies grow over the winter months. He was never much of an artist but would occasionally pick up a piece of scratch paper and stub of a pencil and attempt to commit a beautiful sight to memory. The birds’ neck and eyes never looked quite right. The talons on the eagles looked a bit too large compared to the rest of the body. But I admired my father as he admired nature.
One of the last walks I took with my father late one winter on a frozen lake was one that will forever be embedded in my memory. It was quite slippery and our steps were very deliberate. A few paces ahead, he knelt and leaned close down to the crystal clear ice. “Kelli, look at the fish frozen in the water. Isn’t that an amazing sight?” His excitement over frozen lake fish was contagious. I felt as if I had witnessed something special on our walk that day.
When did I stop looking? When did I stop listening? When did stop exploring? Surrounded by breathtaking wildlife daily, why does my phone, or tv or computer seem to be more important than all that is around me? This gift, this amazing gift which becomes a feast for the senses and is free to the taking. Why I am now more concerned if I have a signal or WiFi? Putting down my laptop and phone on this cold winter day, a walk to explore the wildlife is exactly what I need today.
Kelli J Gavin lives in Carver, Minnesota with Josh, her husband of an obscene amount of years and they have two crazy kids. She is a Writer, Professional Organizer and owns Home & Life Organization. You can find her work with The Ugly Writers, Sweatpants & Coffee, Writing In a Woman’s Voice, The Writers Newsletter, Writer’s Unite!, Academy of the Heart and Mind, The Rye Whiskey Review, Spillwords, Mercurial Stories, 121 Words, Hickory Stump, Rabid Oak, HerStry, Ariel Chart, The Basil O’Flaherty, PPP Ezine, Southwest Media, Otherwise Engaged, Pleather Skin, Paper.Li, The New Ink Review, and among others.
Find Kelli on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @KelliJGavin
Blog found at http://kellijgavin.blogspot.com