Do you have an intimate relationship with the natural world? Do you visit a piece of land regularly, noticing the changes that happen over time–the tiny stem bursting out of the ground in the spring or the last leaf falling from a limb in the fall? Do you sit in this place and just listen and look, paying attention to the details that make it unique?
This morning as I sat at my office window before daylight I watched with delight as the eastern sky turned gold and then pink, the wispy clouds painted with color as light filled the wooded hillside. Then later, when the breeze blew, the air was filled with delicate white petals from the cherry tree, floating by in curtains of white, like snowflakes, landing silently on the ground amid the decaying leaves. I considered running downstairs to fetch my camera and try to capture it, but then decided against it. Instead I just watched, mesmerized by the moment of beauty that was as fleeting as the golden light at sunrise. It seemed doubtful I could ever capture it accurately–for so much of its appeal comes from the feelings it evokes, the way it makes me feel in the given moment.
I cherish and nurture my intimacy with the natural world, especially the land surrounding our house in the woods. The changes are often subtle and almost always silent, but for me, it is rewarding to notice them.
Here’s the quote of the week–a long one but one that is very meaningful:
“To look at anything, if you wanted to know that thing, you must look at it long; To look at this green and say, ” I have seen the spring in these woods,” will not do–you must BE the thing you see. You must BE the dark snakes of stems and ferny plumes of leaves, you must enter into the small silences between the leaves, you must take your time and touch the very peace they issue from.”
If you’ve not spent any time outside recently, maybe you can schedule some soon. And one word of advice: do so with no agenda and a clear mind–it doesn’t work to bring your worries with you. Just relax in the moment and do nothing but BE.
Have fun, and do let me know your thoughts on intimacy with the natural world. How do YOU define intimacy with nature? What changes have you noted lately?