The Secret: When Bobcat Walks Through Winter
It was mid-winter. The air outside was crackling with cold, frigid and sharp. I was standing at the kitchen sink doing dishes, looking out into the frozen forest to the west of the house, when I heard an insistent pecking sound on the outside wall of the house. At first it sounded like the pecking of a solitary woodpecker, but that lone bird was quickly joined by several others, all pecking on the house, creating an incessant, staccato drumming sound. I couldn’t see the birds from inside, so I tiptoed out into the cold of the deck on the south side of the house, intending to silently poke my head around the corner to see them. They heard my approach, however, and just as I reached the corner of the house, flew off as one into the frozen forest to the west of the house, settling into a large, leafless maple just beyond the enormous hill of plowed snow on the far side of the driveway. They were soon joined by a group of several very raucous blue jays who flew in from the north in an avian frenzy, before finally settling into the maple with the woodpeckers, where they kept up their racket. These birds now had my full attention. As I gazed at them, wondering what they were upset about, furry, tufted ears appeared above the hill of plowed snow, followed by the eyes, then the entire head, of a very large bobcat. It casually climbed to the top of the snowbank, looking straight at me the entire time. Once at the top of the bank, it paused for several minutes, as we stared into one another’s eyes. Then it walked down the near side of the snowbank, and slowly and unconcernedly walked the full length of the curving driveway, reentering the forest on the north side of the house. A teaching about its medicine had been shared with me during the minutes we had stared into one another’s eyes:
When Bobcat walks through winter, she hides her secrets among the trees of the frozen forest. Woodpecker drums notice of Bobcat’s coming, while Blue Jay flies above her, sacrificing feathers to mark what is hidden, thus revealing Bobcat’s secrets for those who can hear and see.
This painting is an expression of my shamanic memory of this unusual event. The original and prints are available through the art gallery at The Standing Bear Center for Shamanic Studies. You can also contact me directly online or by calling me: 207.664-0752.