A coffee and a stroll in the rain seems anticlimactic for my last day of the Nature Challenge.
I’m not sure what I foresaw. Maybe a mountain peaked or a bear sighting. Something noteworthy, epic even.
Instead I am here, at the river, five minutes from home. As my dog frolics in the long grasses, my mind quietly begins to clear. Expectations dissipating along with the rain. Because that’s the thing about Nature. It is as comfortable being micro as it is being epic. As impressive being serene as it is mighty. The wonder of a honeybee getting nectar as awe-inspiring as a grandiose landscape at sunset.
None of this forms into a coherent though while out there. No, out there, I simply walk amongst the dew and drizzle. I walk and notice. Slowed down, mind clear, my view suddenly opens up. No longer just rain and shades of grey, I see swallows skimming along the river, paths of moss twisting, green shoots bursting forth from a seemingly dead burnt stump. New growth, heart rocks, countless bugs… And colour, oh so many bursts of colour, polka dotting the great green backdrop.
For a moment I wonder, how did that colour just appear so suddenly?
But of course, it did not.
Only my awareness of it did. As Henry David Thoreau acknowledged, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
That right there sums up my Nature Challenge I realize. Any moment in nature, on a mountain top or in your local patch of grass, provides the opportunity to see and be and appreciate. One of my favourite quotes sums it up beautifully.
“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” John Muir