July 29, 2010

Simple Pleasures: Nature

"Whatever living philosophy one constructs, it cannot avoid the laws of nature, and the best way to get familiar with the laws of nature is to live simply in natural surroundings." - Wilderdom

Cities are great, and I have enjoyed some beautiful moments in them. Folk Music Festival in Edmonton, roaming the Prado Museum in Madrid, buying spices in Old Delhi from Mr. Singh, and night markets in Kuala Lampur - all were urban experiences I am glad I had. But when it comes to simple pleasures, natural areas are my number one.

I feel like I am following an urge, satisfying a yearning, respecting an instinct when I immerse myself in nature. Huge, glorious, free nature. Quiet nature where life takes its course, wherever that may lead. Nature's magic is everywhere, and probably in more places than you want to know. Our bodies are entire mobile ecosystems supporting a wide variety of flora and fauna. It is wondrous, if not a little shudder-inducing.

Today I am taking a nature break to watch a fledged eaglet that is out of the nest and learning to fly. I can see it from home. It is using one of the tallest trees around, hopping and flapping from one branch to another. Sometimes it points itself into the wind and opens its wings full. The wind lifts the large baby and I silently cheer. It reminds me of getting my own wings, and being guided by my patient parents.

The eaglet's parents are down on the salt flats calling for the baby to come for breakfast. Every once in a while one of the adult eagles flies a short distance with a reddish mess of prey dangling from its talons. Mmm, yummy - come and get it. I have read that the parents do this to entice their offspring to take longer flights and strengthen their wings. Time to grow.

The eaglet, looking down from 100 feet up an old growth Douglas-fir is scared and wants to stay where it is. But it is hungry, too. Which will win out? Fear or food? Nature is taking its course.

I will continue to watch the young eagle today. I am certain that food will win out in the end. The response to hunger is strong, as is our yearning for nature. Regardless of where we are we benefit from frequent exposure to natural places. Parks, empty lots, waterways, cracks in the pavement - this simple pleasure can be had anywhere.

My life without nature would be as wrong as an eagle without flight. Eagles should fly, and I should experience the quiet, peace, and wonder of nature as often as possible. I think the answers are there. Nature is my number one simple pleasure.

Note: I invite you to check out my other blog which is devoted to learning about nature and the splendor of the great Pacific coastal forest.

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