One of the first of three (the others being Buddhist poet Ann Emerson and Methodist Minister Terri Stewart) to be invited to share work on this site was Robert D. Rossel, Ph.D. who passed away on Sunday, July 26, surrounded by his family. He participated here for about two-and-a-half years. Below – in memory – is a piece Rob wrote and shared here in 2011. We know many fondly remember Rob and his work. Enjoy!
Photograph California Quail in Golden Gate Park courtesy of Mila Zinkova under GNU Free Documentation License via Wikipedia.
Robert D. Rossel, Ph.D.
This morning I had an amazing encounter. After a sleepless night, I woke up late and decided to go for my morning walk in the local nature preserve behind my house. It was drizzling slightly— a very gentle spring rain. I was deep in an intense internal reverie as I entered the park. I looked up and found myself looking at three deer slightly ahead of me on the trail. I instinctively calmed myself and walked slowly forward. They didn’t seem in any hurry to leave as they often do when I encounter deer in the preserve. It may have helped that I caught one of them, a two year old buck, in the middle of “doing his business.” He turned around and looked at me head-on but didn’t move because he wanted to finish. The others, perhaps encouraged by his unwillingness to stop what he was doing, were in no hurry to leave either. They just managed to keep themselves at a safe distance as I slowly moved forward. Very slowly, I walked forward. The buck kept me in his gaze but didn’t move. I was able to get maybe within six or eight feet of him, almost within reach. Finally he finished his business and slowly walked away from the trail, still keeping me in his gaze.
Then while walking further, I encountered a mother quail and ten teeny, teeny, babies walking into the tall grass on the side of the trail. It was like a cartoon, the last little straggler trying to negotiate and jump over strands of weed and grass, mother scolding/encouraging them all to come along. The little chicks must have been no more than a day old, very small, very cute.
Public domain photograph courtesy of Arpingstone.
Then I arrived at a farm in the middle of the preserve. The farm is for families with children—goats, pigs, chickens and ducks to enjoy, and a cow, named Luna. I have become very fond of this cow over many trips to the farm–perhaps because of my bovine heart valve. She knows me now and accepts my touch, and will occasionally give me a big affectionate lick. (I haven’t brought myself yet to lick her back). Anyway, she has been away for a while so they can repair her paddock and I haven’t been able to see her. But to my great delight she was there this morning, nursing a baby bull and calf. Even while occupied with her nursing babies, she recognized me and let me give her a few scratches and nuzzles.
I felt so gifted this morning by Nature. It was as if in the inscrutable wisdom of nature the Gods found a way of bringing me out of my funk and deep reverie and welcomed me into the world. All of my efforts at self-care in a painful, sleepless, night had utterly failed me. But somehow Nature’s magic managed to touch me and bring me out of my funk and reverie. It amazes me that this happens over and over again in my life. When I seem to most need it, Nature finds a way to touch me. I am grateful. I am also grateful that I am still able to be touched!
Photograph courtesy of Mandie Lancaster, Public Domain Pictures.net.
© 2011, words, Robert D. Rossel, All rights reserved; photos credits as indicated above.