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On our drive through Snowy Range in Wyoming last weekend, we caught a glimpse of two moose grazing in a meadow near the road. The only reason we stopped was the line of cars pulled over.

In our part of the country, and maybe everywhere, though I can’t speak for everywhere, a string of cars on the roadside usually means someone has spotted an animal.

A wild animal.

It might be bighorn sheep or elk – two favorites in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Or it could be moose.

We slowed the car, found a suitable parking spot, and walked back to the line of cars. We looked into the meadow, the same as everyone else.

Sure enough, it was a pair of moose.

Wow!

They seemed huge and were a lovely shade of deep brown. Like dark chocolate.

Rick dashed to the car for the camera. The result is the picture that you see with this blog post. Yes, there is a moose in the frame.

You must trust us on this. Think we could use a longer lens for our camera?

Drivers continued to slow down and inquire why everyone else was stopped.

“What are you looking at?” one asked.

“Is it a moose?” another guessed.

For the moment there was a feeling of community among us. We were sharing something quite wonderful. A glimpse into the wild.

I have a theory about this. I think that most of us live fairly ordinary lives, tucked into our homes in suburbia. We are defined by civilization. It makes things easy and safe. But all that asphalt and conditioned air leave us yearning for a taste of the wild. It’s buried deep inside, like an itch you can’t quite scratch.

Maybe it’s a connection to a time when life wasn’t so safe, so predictable, so sanitized. Some of us try to address the itch by going camping or river rafting or mountain biking or fishing, or hiking.

We garden, we ride Harleys, or keep horses or chickens or llamas.

Anything to scratch the itch.

To remember that at our core, we are still wild and free.

I’ve been on a quest to notice the wildness in my life and make it part of my everyday experience. And once I started to notice, to pay attention to everything around me, I immediately began to feel more connected to the natural world.

What I realized, or remembered, is that it doesn’t have to be a big event – a wilderness trip or some other kind of organized outing. I don’t have to be in the mountains, or Utah’s Canyonlands (one of my favorite places on the planet) or the beach in Mexico (another favorite) to experience wildness, although some of my best times have been in these places.

It’s around me all the time. It’s around you too.

My time in the pasture with Bud and Pepper has given me a daily experience with nature and I am constantly grateful for every minute with those two characters. But I don’t want to grow complacent, using that time as my only connection to nature and the wildness of the world.

Photo courtesy of istockphotos.com

This past weekend my sister and I were exhibiting our mosaic art at a Mother’s Day show hosted by a greenhouse in Lyons, Colorado.

Our display area was outside, tucked among the shrubs that were for sale. Along the pergola that framed the area were birdfeeders.

Busy birdfeeders.

Their main customers were redwing blackbirds. They came in droves to nibble the seed and serenade us. I’m used to seeing one or two redwing blackbirds in the outlying fields or wetland areas in town. But I’ve never seen so many at one time or been close enough to hear them sing.

It was magical.

If I hadn’t been standing outside in essentially the same location for two days, I would have missed this amazing experience.

And now when I need a boost, I can close my eyes and hear birdsong and see that flash of scarlet on a glistening black wing. And for a brief moment, I feel wild, and unfettered.

It’s what I crave these days.

How about you?

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