I was standing at my back door staring out into the yard when I saw it. Something was moving in a tree. One little thing. And then another. And another.
It took me about 10 seconds to recognize what I was looking at. Three tiny raccoons climbing, and balancing, and tumbling along the branches of a tree in my neighbor’s yard.
They were slightly bigger than kittens, with striped tails dangling as they wobbled their way along the tree’s limbs. Their mother was sitting on a larger branch, watching over them. It was like they were having a climbing lesson.
And I was in love instantly.
What a gift to witness this moment in their lives. I would have missed it, surely, had I been trapped in my phone. Had I been in my old routine of checking, and scrolling, and posting, and losing time on social media, I never would have met my summer babies at this stage of their lives.
Okay, maybe I would have met them. I’ll never know. But it wouldn’t have been on this day during their climbing lesson. And I probably wouldn’t have felt so deeply connected to experiencing more moments like this.
And maybe I wouldn’t have understood the role my choice to take time away from my phone played in all of it.
Some (most) people will say it was a coincidence that I came upon this scene when I did. Sure, that’s possible. But I don’t think so.
Life is happening all of the time, all around us. We can be witness to it, or we can ignore it. When we can’t hear or feel our intuition guiding us toward the moments unfolding for us, we miss out.
When we are stuck watching other people’s lives on social media, we can’t hear our own life calling for us.
I was listening on this day. And something inside of me said, “Get up, walk to the door, and look outside.”
A video compilation of my encounters with my summer babies.
The first time I saw the babies (I call them “my summer babies”) was July 2nd, 2022. The most recent experience with them was March 18th, 2023. Every time I saw them, it felt like I was being reminded to be present. And that if I took time to appreciate this gift, I would find deep meaning in it.
Some sweet things I was reminded of through my encounters with my summer babies:
Remember how fun it is to learn something new. That feeling of making connections through deeper understanding of ideas and the ways in which things work. How what was once a mystery becomes a part of you in knowing its magic. Watching the babies learn to climb had a deep impact on me. And seeing them use their skills over the following months felt like I had had a secret window into this sacred and natural piece of their wildness.
Delight in the simplest of things. And the magical things. In all of it. Each time I saw my raccoon babies, my child heart rose up to the surface. My voice changed, my eyes brightened, and my entire energy shifted into wonder.
It’s okay to take the long way. If that’s what you love, go for it. If you’re in it for the journey more than the destination, take as long as you need. Go as far and as high as you feel called. Sometimes I didn’t see the babies, but I heard them on my roof. They have a route that goes from my office window (up a tree we call the ‘rat ladder’), over and across the roof, and down another tree outside our bedroom window. Then they head back across the neighbor’s driveway in the same direction they came from before. The long way is sometimes the most fun.
Find a spot with a great view and rest there. Take it all in. Wave to the world. And then nap. Pretty much every encounter with the babies involved them climbing to a high point – my roof, a tree, the back fence – where they could look out across the yard, and rest for a while.
Play. Find the people you love the most, and get them outside to play. At sunrise. In the middle of the day. As the sun goes down – play. My encounters with the babies happened at all times of day. The first time was after 3 in the afternoon. The second was before sunrise. And there have been many times I’ve heard them in the middle of the night. And every time, they showed me the joy of play.
And I might have missed all of this had I chosen to get lost in my phone rather than find out what was right outside my back door.
Be well and wild, my friends.
All my love,
This post is part of “The fire” blog series.
Welcome to the fire. Where we step outside of the walls built around us to discover something more beautiful and more alive together.
Marika Moffitt is an artist and storyteller focused on expressing the spirit of dogs through photography. As the owner of SoulDog Creative in Seattle, Washington, Marika helps clients throughout the Pacific Northwest to honor their journeys with their Soul Dogs with one-of-a-kind artwork. Full of life and movement, Marika’s photographs touch deep within the heart of what it means to live the journey with the dogs we love.
To commission artwork of your dog, cat, or horse, book a consultation with Marika to begin your journey.