You never know what may lay on your path, even if you have tread it 1000 times before. You may surprisingly find salamanders stationed in the darkness. Salamanders to carefully step over as you slowly make your way along a muddy trail in the middle of the night.
Such is the lesson that I learned last July full moon. My husband and I were treated to a rare and special event. A mass migration of salamanders who arose from under the earth after the rain and under the full moon.
Thank God we had a flashlight. For they didn’t move as most creatures will, scampering out of the way when you approach.
It was crazy. It was pitch dark on the open meadow. The moon had not yet risen. We were making our way through the familiar meadow as if in a dream, as the twilight colored from blue to purple to black.
Suddenly I stopped. I asked Peter to turn on the flashlight. I just had a little eerie feeling, although logically I knew there was nothing to be afraid of out there. I knew this meadow.
However, that is when I saw them, and...I shrieked! They were like little monsters beneath our feet. Fortunately, I had just managed to step over one. How I don’t know. It must have been some sort of radar system between the sole of my foot and the salamander’s rubbery body. Maybe he was sending out some sort of signal that I was able to pick up? My husband didn’t seem to be picking up the same signals. It was a harrowing journey home.
It must have been like a UFO experience for the salamanders. The bright light. The shrieks. The examination from above.
I put on the kettle. My teabag read “renew,” and I thought of the medicine of the salamander. Renewal, regeneration, transformation. They are amphibious, able to live in both land and water. Incredible creatures. These salamanders burrow into the earth and make a loyal pilgrimage back to their birth ponds to reproduce. They are sit and wait predators, catching bugs who naively pass by, and freaking out people who are accustomed to wildlife scampering out of their way.
We had walked that trail for 10 years without ever seeing a single salamander. Nor having any inkling that salamanders even lived out there. What a blessing to unexpectedly encounter dozens to share the path with. And what a blessing to have my cup of chamomile tea that night.
How awakening it is when we find newness on a well trod path. I like that we can have non-ordinary experiences right within our ordinary experience.