Monday, May 24, 2010
Whenever I think about when my love of Nature began, I think back to my gradual, progressive journey with it - my awareness of it. That awareness began during my early childhood in a small southern town, where my family and I often went on excursions into the woods during the summer to pick blackberries, cherries and grapes. I loved the freshness of the air, the colors of the many different plants and the many, many trees everywhere. I remember being excited that no two trees were the same. I was even excited that we had to be careful to avoid areas known to harbor dangerous snakes. Somehow, knowing the snakes were there and knowing that I was protected by adults kept my adrenalin flowing.
Growing up on my grandfather's small farm was another reason that I viewed Nature as a friend, especially in summer and fall. In the summer, there was a garden filled with corn, green beans, tomatoes, greens, watermelons, cucumbers and okra. There was also a fig tree in our front yard, and a chicken coop in our back yard. I loved that we grew most of what we ate, and it wasn't until we moved north that I discovered not everybody made their own buttermilk - or wrung a chicken's neck in the morning and ate it for supper that same day.
Everybody had not eaten a yellow-meat watermelon from Georgia, or witnessed newborn kittens in a bedroom dresser drawer. Nor had they learned to climb a tree, catch a trout or watch caught-tadpoles turn into frogs. Everybody had not caught June bugs in the summer, tied a string to their legs and watched them "zing on a string," making a zinging noise. Nor had they sat on the front porch at night in the summer, catching lightning bugs in a jar.
Everybody had not known the thrill of watching their relatives shake a pecan tree in the fall, and fill a crocus sack with the wonderful bounty. Yet, as a child, I thought everyone had experienced all these things. Later on, and even now, I am amazed that there are still those who think it is unsophisticated to love nature so much. I have learned that it is they who are showing their ignorance with these type of thinking.
When I am in the presence of nature, especially trees and water, I am acutely aware that there is something higher than myself - something wise and mysterious. Something that has been here forever, and for that I am thankful.
When I die, I will go back to the earth because I came from the earth. I am a part of the earth, a part of Nature, and perhaps that is why I love it so much.