On another website, gaia.com, Siona asked a question the other day.  She always asks Questions and Reflections designed to make us think.  In fact this is how she says it:  Every day, we offer an inquiry designed to push you to think deeply about those things that matter most. We’ll encourage you to continue to discover and follow your calling, to explore and connect with yourself, to envision and attain your goals, and to craft, passionately, your own extraordinary and unique life.

The question of the day was this:  What do you love about nature?  What about the natural world appeals to or calls to or nurtures you?

So how would you answer that question?

The forest on a September afternoon

The forest on a September afternoon

I have sat with that question for at least three days, pondering it.  Turning it over and over, around and around.  You might think that it would be an easy question to answer.  Not so!!  I have thought about this one upside down and all around and am barely getting ’round to a satisfactory answer, one that seems to feel the most like “the truth”.   (Don’t get me going on what is “the truth”!  That’s another essay for another day…or maybe not…)

The eye peers knowingly out from the tree

The eye peers knowingly out from the tree

As I read through the comments about nature, it seemed like everyone likes something different.  You would think it might be more similar.  I would have thought people would say “I like nature because it’s beautiful and makes me feel more connected spiritually” or something like that.  And some people did say that.  But there are so very very many reasons we humans feel connected to nature, drawn to her, inspired to open our doors and spend time in the elements.

The surprise of red thread-like creatures growing up in moss

The surprise of red thread-like creatures growing up in moss

I guess I love the surprises of the natural world.  The way nature enthralls with amazements like strange plants, creatures, roots and rocks.  There are eyes looking out of inanimate objects like trees, staring at us with all-knowing intelligence.  You can’t walk six steps without something intriguing appearing.  This can be anything from the still shimmer of sunset against the lake or the tiniest insect crawling against a fern. 

Expanse of jutting stone

Expanse of jutting stone

Whether you’re inside or outside, you can still be surprised every moment if you cease your torrent of habitual thinking and just observe.  You can be just as surprised and amazed by the expression on a loved ones face, a wrinkle, the gleam on a pen, the way the calculator clicks.  You can be enchanted by the mix of indoors and nature:  the angle of the sun against the wood floor, the breeze wafting through the open window.

Let there be fungus among us

Let there be fungus among us

Turning the question around:  what about nature do you not really like as well?  Hmmm….well, I do not like mosquitoes and black flies nipping and biting and drawing blood.  I have learned to respect that they are a part of nature, and to keep moving when they come out in hoards, but they are sometimes challenging.  I suppose we can add wildfires, tornadoes, blizzards and hurricanes to the list of natural events which can sometimes disturb equanimity.  And large animals in close proximity…like bears and moose and wolves…I would prefer a small amount of distance between us.  Just enough for safety.

A single rose hip hovers

A single rose hip hovers

Nature has the ability to bring many people closer to their sense of the divine, of sacredness, of spirituality.  Perhaps it’s the beauty, the openness, the expansiveness.  For me, almost always doing things backwards, I found the sacred deep within…and am now learning to see it reflected outward into the natural world.  That has been a big part of the gift of this year.

Beyond the forest...

Beyond the forest...

What do YOU love about nature?  How would you answer that question?

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