Monday, March 3, 2014

Forced Intermission

DSCN3812Whether thunderstorm, flood, or snow, one of the great things about rough weather is the way it forces us to notice the natural world. It's nature's way of grabbing us by the arm and shouting in our face, "Pay attention!"

For those of us in the sunny south, nothing gets our attention like wintry white weather. Ice and snow intrude into our hectic, fast paced, always on, always connected lives. Normal life is pushed aside and we are forced to stop and look around. For some people, it's as close as they will ever get to camping.

DSCN3819Stuck at home in the snow, we stand at the window and watch the birds in the yard—birds that are there every day but rarely noticed in our rush. If the power flickers, or goes off completely, we're quickly thinking about our energy sources and what alternatives might be available. We start thinking more carefully about clothing choices, even inside the house. And then we start thinking about food. Do we have enough bread, milk, and eggs? What will we eat if the power goes out? Can we make it until life goes back to normal? Personally, I think this focused attention on the basics is a good thing.

DSCN3826 For those with an adventurous spirit, a rare snowfall is reason enough to bundle up and go for a walk. It's not enough merely to look through the window; you have to be outside in it. You have to touch the snow, feel its coldness, maybe make a snowball or draw pictures on the hood of the car.

Once our attention is gained, the wonders of nature are captivating, renewing our spirits and reconnecting us to irresistible beauty.


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"There is a love of wild Nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love ever showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties." —John Muir's journal, July 1890 (cited in John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, edited by Linnie Marsh Wolfe, 1938)

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