Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The beautiful thing about Nature

I'm going to go ahead and capitalize the first letter in Nature for the entirety of this post.  Why?  Because the way I've seen and experienced Nature, it is a real and active thing. 

Take this photo as an example:

At the very bottom of the photo your eye can probably make out parallel tracks moving away from where I was standing when I took this picture.

As your eyes follow the tracks forward, you'll notice they quickly fade away into the undergrowth of hay scented ferns.

By the middle of the photo the former trail is all but invisible except to those of us who have used this trail for years.

I grew up going to a cabin where I would hike this trail regularly.  In fact as little as 10 years ago anyone could have walked this track with just a verbal description of where the trail begins and ends.

15-20 years ago, an adventurous soul, could have navigated this trail with lifted Jeep or pick-up.

Yet, now here it stands, nearly invisible to all but the few of us who recognize this trail through the woods.

And that's what happens.  Land use changes. The people who beat down this trail moved on, or just stopped needing the trail for whatever its original purpose was. 

What we see here is Nature reclaiming what is hers. 

While I was in college a friend was working on a paper for some class and asked myself, and several others, what they loved about Nature.

I recall thinking about it for a day or two, then responding back that:

"No matter what humans do to the natural world around us, Nature will eventually reclaim what is rightfully hers.  It may take years to undo what we did, but Nature doesn't care about time, she will eventually reclaim what is hers."

On a very minor scale this photo illustrates what I mean.  In fact these woods have been logged out 2-3 times since colonial days, with the last time being during the 1960's, right before my family purchased the property were the cabin sits now.  If you get off the main trails, and you know what to look for you will find logging roads long forgotten.  Maybe it's a bizarre indent in the forest floor, or a bank showing the high side of an old bend in the road.  These features aren't easy to find, but the fact that they are there and nearly invisible shows that Nature does heal man's scars.

I would encourage you to be a "mindful observer" as you enter the woods.  Pick out the little things and visualize the forest as a whole, while appreciating what is immediately apparent.

Happy Exploring
Scott M

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