When I was a teenager I went to a park with some friends. We were recently back from Tom Brown Jr’s school. Maybe 17? We went to a park here in town, a really wild one. The ranger followed us in. My buddy had a bow-drill bow sticking up out of his backpack. She thought it was a rifle. She was profiling us as bad teenagers. We respected that place and had a deeper connection to it than her. I tried to talk to her about plants and things and she was gruff and never looked me in the eye. I got annoyed because she just kept standing 10 feet from us and wouldn’t engage us, when we were clearly interested in learning more and looking for a deeper connection. So we left.
The next day we came back, but through the back entrance. We wanted to try the camouflage trail sit, where you get camouflaged and then sit as close to the trail as possible without getting noticed. We stripped down to swim suits and got camo’ed. We stalked up to the main trail/bike path and hid for a long while. Getting closer and closer. Eventually I crossed the path and hid opposite my friend. After 30 or 40 minutes of hikers, joggers, and bikers going by, I decided to travel back across the path. But just as I got up and crossed I heard a bike coming. With no time to duck away (or “sink and fade”), my only option was to climb a small cedar tree with the closest limb about 7 feet up, and it was a tiny thing. But I did it. Switched into “squirrel medicine” as the Tracker School would call it, and went up the tree like lightning, then froze, eyes squinting, lips curled in, wrapped around the trees form to disguise my own. As soon as I froze, the bike came around the bend. Guess who was on the bike? The ranger from the day before. My heart skipped a few beats as she rode by, eyes alert, scanning the ground just below my toes, without noticing me at all. I took it as a gift from the spirit of that place. I would never put myself in that position these days, as an adult. I can’t even imagine the headlines if I was caught doing that. lol.