One of the things I most love about my walks in the woods across from my house, besides the abundance of the non-human, is the funny little traces other people leave behind. I rarely see people while I'm out, though I do see coyotes, rabbits, deer, squirrels, ravens, hawks, crows, banana slugs, newts, countless little brown birds. It's strange to me how much I appreciate it when I can tell that others have been on my same path, using it in their way, getting their fill, like me, of being outside. I read their signs, the cleared scotch broom, the downed-trees moved off the trail, and wonder about them, who they are, grateful.
But it's particularly wonderful when clever lovely people create little altars like the Ganesh that appeared a few years ago.
The first time I saw it, I was utterly delighted that someone had seen this as they passed this tangled oak root, had remembered to bring the marble for the eye, the Ganesh candle and the coins. Someone had stood there and thought about it and then come back and created this for others to see. At one point that same someone cleared the leaves directly in the front, and laid little stones to demark a path, a little run-way to the elephant's head.
I pass Ganesh several times a week, always greet it (Jai Jai!), replace the candle when it tumbles, appreciate how truly elephant-y that root is, its curling trunk, and thank the Someone who brought it to life for the rest of us.