Find My Favorite Books at

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Lair of the Leopard - Day 1

I stopped under the carved leopard’s head just outside the canvas-covered doorway of Malalo Ya Chui and wondered what I’d gotten myself into. Once I stepped inside the rustic 8-sided structure I would be committing – really committing - to spending nine months of my life with whomever I found inside.

Coming here was an act of desperation. I had to make some major changes in my life if I was going to survive… changes that I chose instead of the ones that had been chosen for me. I wondered if I had the courage to do it. I was already late. Would it really matter if I just slunk off down the trail to the parking lot and left? I’d be out the deposit, but it wasn’t too late to change my mind.

My Missouri eyes had not yet adjusted to the intense greens of the lush vegetation that surrounded me. I didn’t recognize many of the trees or plants. The giant Western Red cedars (Thuja plicata) looked familiar, if much larger than the cedar trees of home, and I saw Maple-like leaves, but the trees, Vine Maples ( Acer circinatum), were different from the Maples I was familiar with. The mosses and ferns were foreign to me. Even the birds I heard calling in the forest were not the birds I knew. This place was a jungle to me.

Then I remembered the reason I was here…To learn about new things and places... To expand my paremeters...There was a welcoming wood smoke wafting up from the center of the roof, and I reasoned that the people inside must be much like me…Who else would sign up for a naturalist training program? Knowing only that told me that I had more in common with them than I had with the majority of the people I’d ever met. I was going to be alright here.

I looked to the leopard for confirmation. Lair of the Leopard - that’s what Malalo Ya Chui means. It’s located on the property called Linne Doran, or Pond of the Otter, in the Cascade foothills near Duvall, Washington. I had enrolled in the Residential Program at the Wilderness Awareness School. I was 2000 miles from home…and closer to Home than I ever had been.

The leopard was silent, letting me choose. I chose to go in. The moment I lifted the canvas to enter I knew I’d made the right decision. I can’t explain it. It just felt right, and good, and comfortable. The gut feeling I’d had when I’d stumbled on to the school’s website returned with a power that took my breath. This was where I was supposed to be now, this year, this class. This was where I needed to be. A thought came so fast and hard that I could not disbelieve it. “This is where you can heal.” Intuition is something that I had come to respect the hard way. I am a believer. I entered the lair.

No comments:

Post a Comment

My Favorite Fiction Authors and Books

  • Suzanne Arruda- the Jade del Cameron mysteries: "The Mark of the Lion" "Stalking Ivory", "The Serpent's Daughter", "The Leopard's Prey" and "The Golden Cheetah"
  • Ken Goddard - "Balefire" and others
  • Stephen White - the Dr. Alan Gregory books are all great. "Kill Me" is my favorite.
  • Harlan Coben - anything he writes is great
  • Elizabeth Peters - Amelia Peabody mysteries

My Favorite Nonfiction Authors and Books

  • "Coyote's Guide to Connecting With Nature" by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown- 2nd edition coming soon!
  • Gavin De Becker - "The Gift of Fear"
  • "Deep Survival" by Laurence Gonzales- the best survival book I've ever read! Not a how-to, its more of a who does,and why.
  • Candice Millard - "The River of Doubt -Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey"
  • Anything that starts with "Peterson's Field Guide To..."
  • Tom Brown, Jr. - "The Tracker" and others
  • Mark Elbroch - "Mammal Tracks and Sign" and "Animal Skulls"