Thoreau speaks of walking in nature as a “sort of crusade,” a pilgrimage of sorts, in search of all that is holy in the midst of nature. (Thoreau p.72) In fact, Thoreau calls walking a noble art, one that is not unlike the Knights of old. (Thoreau p. 73) On this, I cannot disagree for I feel my walks in nature take on a higher order in my life and connect me to all of my senses at once and without a doubt to a higher order within the universe.
It is in walking in the afternoon Thoreau says that, he would “fain forget all my morning occupations and my obligations to society.” (Thoreau p. 78) In fact, if the thought of things other than nature invade his time walking, he would find himself returned to his senses through nature, recognizing he has no business walking in the woods, if he is “thinking of something out of woods.” (Thoreau p. 79) For it is the “subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it,” that “will direct us aright.” (Thoreau p. 85) Yes, I can concur for when I walk I find the ills of my life are lessen, the pains in my heart are healed, and my senses are awaken by the smallest gift of nature that speaks to me as I stroll through nature’s woods and pastures.
Moreover, in the midst of Thoreau’s exhalations of the restorative power of nature on our psyche, he takes time to remind us of our duty to preserve nature, for “all good things are wild and free.” (Thoreau p. 107) Without nature, the question begs, what place does man have in the world. Thoreau implores us to preserve nature and to respect nature. Thoreau draws the parallel of walking in nature as a spiritual connection to the world in which we live, a connection that is vital to our very lives.
Thoreau, Henry David. “Walking.” Emerson, Ralph Waldo and Henry David Thoreau. Nature / Walking. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1991. p. 71 – 122.
I sit at my desk mesmerized… The river has shifted its flow and is moving upstream with the force of the incoming tide from the ocean. Along the sides of the river, the water is rippling in an undulating motion as if trying to go against the movement of the upstream flow.
I am captivated by the flow of the river and its motion, seeming so unnatural a motion, to flow upstream instead of down. Yet, every day the river takes a trek both up and down stream, for I live on the lower end of the mighty Merrimack River, where the tides of the river shift with the ocean’s tides. The frigid temperatures of this day have created massive sheets and formations of ice, which stretch across to the center of the river. They are captivating to watch as they move past my vantage point at my desk window.
I think of the river, in all of its guises, as part of me, in all of my guises. I am as changeable and impermanent as the river. I feel the cold hard edges of the ice jarring me from the inside, begging me to reach deeper into the depths of my own source that I might understand the very flow of life.
I see the forms of other life and substances caught in the ice, frozen for a time, creating more texture, forming more questions in my mind. Where did this branch come from? Where is it going? Who am I in the grand scheme of it all. Continue reading
From my Nature Writing Journal…
As I gazed out from my desk at the vista before me, I could see that just across the road to the waters of Merrimack river where I live. The sky was striped with soft pink and slate blue stripes. A flock of Canada Geese was flying just above the tree line. They were heading west with the sun announcing their presence with their loud call that sounded somewhat like an old car horn… “honk, honk, honk.”
Even as the sun was setting and geese were flying overhead, their call trumpeted through the still. Soon it would be dusk. The colors of the sky transmuted to darker hues that transfixed me. I sat on my porch bench and watched the sky dark until the blue hour had settled in. Another flock of geese could be heard off in the distance, or perhaps it was the same flock, flying back my way.
What message were they conveying to each other, I wondered. What message were they conveying to me? Stop, sit, and listen. Be in the still. Soak in the moments when there is nothing but sheer silence surrounding your presence. In that silence is where you find the answers to your deepest questions. In that silence is where you find peace. In that silence, is where inspiration soars like the geese winding their way along the river.
From my nature writing journal, Fall 2015…
I was sitting on the front porch reading and watching the half dozen crows that were making a raucous in the trees across the road. The crows cawed loudly. The squirrels scurried about. A blue jay screeched its name, “Jay, Jay,” in the distance. Fall was quietly descending a little every day. I could see a tinge of golden brown in the grasses on the other shore across the river. Gazing with a squint to better my focus my eyes, I realized there was a great blue heron slowly moving in the river grass along the shore, looking for its evening meal.
All of a sudden there was a riotous and rowdy clambering in the trees coming from the crows and then a crash followed by a great fluttering of black wings. It was late afternoon. “Surely, those crows were up to no good,” I thought to myself. Continue reading
I thank the Great Mother Goddess every day for this Earth and the profound connection that I feel to this Earth and the Mother. Today’s Quote of the Day is a favorite from the prolific fiction and non-fiction author, Wendell Berry. His nature writing speaks of my own thoughts and senses on nature:
The Earth sustains us. Please treat her with care.
Musings from my nature writing journal…
A cardinal flew across the road today as I was walking. It darted out from the trees and made a quick trajectory to the other side of the road, flashing its brilliant scarlet-feathered figure in a swift streak before my eyes. I became transfixed upon the stand of trees and brush that the cardinal had descended into, managing somehow despite its brilliant color to blend in to the colorful fall foliage. There it sat hidden in nature’s camouflage. And, I waited, patiently and quietly for him to emerge, ever peering deeper into the wood to catch a glimpse of him fluttering from limb to limb. Continue reading