730 BELLS: Follow Intimations of Enchantment and THRIVE

Last week, I discovered a new way to listen for the bells. By allowing myself to pay attention to three things that converged, I felt suddenly awake and alive—at a very unexpected time and place: THRIVE , a 7:30 AM fund-raising event for the Woodland Park Zoo in a hotel ballroom.

The first thing I saw: Hundreds of people sat in circles at round tables, me among them, listening to bear biologist Chris Morgan talk about preserving wild species. The second thing I saw: Four screens flashed huge photos of bears, tigers, cougars, and other wild creatures around the room. The third thing: the ballroom lights—black nets studded with sparkling lights, like  rhinestone-studded net veils on vintage hats. Those lights enchanted me. I couldn't look away. This is rude, I thought. Pay attention to the speaker, don’t stare at the ceiling. But I’ve learned to follow intimations of enchantment. 

These three things—circles of people, huge photos of wild creatures, and sparkling nets of light—converged inside me. My mind imploded inward and yet expanded outward, and the bells began to ring as I saw a bigger picture.

Once, nets trapped wild animals, caging their power and beauty. Not here. Suddenly it seemed as though the sparkling nets above the ballroom were emanating from the circles of people below. Up the sparkling nets rose, and up, shining shields of protection. THRIVE was our chance to become sparkling guardians for the tiger, the bear, for all of the wild that remains. Circles upon circles of people had joined together to do the saving, to keep the wild from blinking out, least one day the nets fall over us and forever cut us off from power and beauty we can never replace.

How far we have come. How far we have to go.

Pay attention to what enchants you, 
and the bells will ring

My thanks to my friend, author Justina Chen, for inviting me to the Zoo event, and to Lorna Chin for hosting a table.

7:30 BELLS  Posts run every Tuesday.

7:30 BELLS Guest Posts run on the second Tuesday of every month. Join me on April 8 for a guest post with award-winning author Janet Lee Carey, author of Dragonswood.