I have been spending a lot of time in a field near my house looking for Mother Nature’s treasures. Each day when I know I will be doing this I wake up excited and with a feeling of anticipation, like a child on Christmas eve or Christmas morning. I race through getting dressed and breakfast, anxious to get out there and see what I will discover. (Reminds me of a post I wrote called What Inspires you to skip?)
There’s no telling WHAT that might be. Since finding that metallic chrysalis recently, I have been keyed in on looking for more chrysalises and amazingly, have found MANY, though most of the others were from a butterfly called a Buckeye (photos below in the slide show). These are much less impressive, though still equally miraculous in how the process occurs.
Today I found 13 chrysalises, though only 7 of them were still intact–the others were hollow inside, already eaten by some hungry insect. I brought the good ones home so I can have a chance to watch them emerge.
I know one of these days when I arrive excited for a heavenly morning of photography, I will find this field mowed… I dread this, knowing it will be a very sad day. It will break my heart in a way I suspect not all that many people will understand.
In my bios and artist statement, I often say I have had an intimate relationship with the natural world since I was a child. I suspect this baffles some people. Intimate? With nature? Huh?
But it is hard to describe it with any other word. When you return again and again to the same plot of wild land–whatever size it happens to be– you begin to learn things about it, just as you would a lover’s body.
I love this intimacy with nature! I am beginning to be able to predict what butterflies I will see, where the turkeys will be, where the deer bed down, where to look for chrysalises, and what plants I can expect to find caterpillars feeding on. I have watched deer browsing along the woods in the back corner, have enjoyed the calls of a pair of red-shouldered hawks that are often nearby, have heard the turkeys gobbling in the adjacent field and have seen goldfinches and other birds feeding on the seeds of the flowers. I have lain in the grass surrounded by yellow and purple blossoms, looking up into a sea of blue, watching turkey vultures soaring on invisible air currents. In spending such quality time there I have become attached to the field and its inhabitants.
And so… this week’s quote, a long one to be sure, but one of my very favorite from a man I very much admire–Henry David Thoreau who said:
“If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs…–that is your success. All nature is your congratulation and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself. The greatest gains and values are farthest from being appreciated. We easily come to doubt they exist. We soon forget them. They are the highest reality… the true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening.
It is a little bit of star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.”
I have written about this theme before– quote #42 about each moment of the year, or #44 about everything having a voice, or #58 about getting to know something in nature or #68 about nature making you whole.
What do you think of these? Do you know what I mean when I say an intimate relationship with nature? Have you experienced this during your lifetime?
Check out some of the photos from my recent visits to this field: