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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Look Deep Into Nature

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. -- Albert Einstein

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. -- Frank Lloyd Wright

 I never knew that these great men were lovers of nature, but I really like these quotes.

Recently I made my fourth visit to Yellowstone National Park since last year. I was with a group of nine other travelers, but one morning we had a few hours to spend doing whatever we wanted to do, so I opted out of a group walk around the upper geyser basin near Old Faithful Geyser. After watching the geyser erupt, I started meandering around the surrounding area.

I stopped to watch the eruption of Castle Geyser, photographed some thermal pools and looked in amazement at steam rising from numerous thermal vents in the distance. Although I found evidence of bison (fresh droppings and hoof prints in the snow), the big animals were nowhere to be seen. The sky was clear and the sun was shining. Best of all, it was as if I had the upper geyser basin to myself. I walked alone, the only sound the crunching of my boots on the packed snow and ice, and a woodpecker working in the distance. Because of much warmer than usual temperatures, there was no snow or condensation from the geysers on the branches of the pine trees. Still, it was a magical place, made all the more special by the solitude.

Sadly, I didn't get as far as I had hoped and had to head back to the lodge to join my group. On the way back, I encountered a couple who asked whether I had seen anything interesting and a park ranger who asked whether I had seen any geysers erupting. I told him the approximate time Castle had erupted.

Yellowstone is a very special place. It epitomizes wilderness, yet it's easy to explore. Where else can people go and have a good chance of seeing wild wolves, bison, elk, mountain goats, moose, bighorn sheep, pronghorns, eagles, foxes and coyotes? For me, wilderness offers solitude and renewal. I love looking at the great expanse of sky, at the mountains and hills, at the geysers and thermal pools.

For most of us, nature is far removed from our day-to-day lives. We have destroyed a great deal of the natural world, and we have done our best to distance ourselves from what is left. We may go visit wilderness areas a few times a year, but we are really out of touch with nature. And our species seems hellbent on destroying what nature is left.

There is so much beauty in our natural world. We need to get outside, turn off the cell phones, and enjoy the world around us. Fill your lungs with fresh air. Wonder at the beautiful blue sky. Look in amazement at the rushing waters. Be silent and observe the animals as they go about their daily business. Look deep into nature as the wellspring of a good life. Be in touch with the earth. Listen to its songs. Refill your empty soul.