"The sun shines not on us but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fibre and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing." -- John Muir
I am fortunate to live in a part of town where each house sits on a 1/2-acre lot, offering quiet and privacy. I have wonderful views of the Sandia Mountains, and a mere 2 miles away is the Rio Grande bosque, a wooded area along the banks of the river. Also nearby are dirt levees that are perfect for walking, running and horseback riding. During my morning walk today, I heard a horse snorting, chickens cackling and a rooster crowing. As I drove to the store this morning, a very large coyote dashed across the road in front of me. This is a wonderful, quiet place to get out and enjoy nature.
I really enjoy the sights, the sounds and the smells of nature. The aroma of pine trees, the smell of the damp earth after a rain, the wonderful aroma of dead leaves on the ground during the fall -- no human-made scents can compare. And the colors of Nature's palette are endless. Even the most talented of artists cannot come close to creating the beauty of the natural world.
There is a great dichotomy in nature. On the one hand, it can be very calming and relaxing, while on the other, being out in nature often requires us to heighten our senses. We need to be aware of our surroundings for our own safety. Nature also presents a juxtaposition of beauty and danger, of healing plants and deadly animals, of mighty predators and furry bunnies. Nature is a powerful force, yet fragile. Nature offers us gentle streams and rivers, as well as roaring rapids and waterfalls. It can harm or kill us in a variety of ways, a powerfully magnificent landscape of roaring rivers and towering mountains, yet human actions can cause it great damage and threaten the very existence of certain ecosystems, species and areas.
As a follower of a variety of national parks and wilderness organizations on Facebook, I often find myself gasping at the beauty of some of the images I see. In rare instances, my eyes tear up at the sheer beauty of these places. And my heart often aches when I see the damage and destruction humans have wrought upon the land and the species attempting to coexist with us.
We have but one planet to call home. It would behoove all of us to pay more attention to it, to protect it, to care about the land, the water and the other life that shares the planet with us.