Unsightly? Or gift of nature?
It all depends on the eye of the beholder.
Let me share with you some photos I took while walking our farm.
You may call these images eye sores or, in a different frame of mind, texturally appealing.
I live in the country. Manicured lawns and trees pruned to perfection are not part of our habitat.
It’s the survival of the fittest around here, and plants that manage to grow under tough conditions are by far the fittest.
Take these thistles, for instance. They may appear dead to you, but I guarantee they’ll recover as soon as water conditions improve.
Of course, on a working farm, there are many other sights that can appear as eyesores or texturally appealing, depending on the perspective of the observer.
Consider the colorful string used on hay bales and the cut-up tires used to secure the plastic covering the silage pit (corn or oats, depending on the season).
And the pipes used for irrigation.
Senses sharpened, here are some of the other impressions I experienced during my walk.
Sounds: Birds tweeting in Morse code; the strident kill-dee of Killdeer; the zip-zip of crickets that sound like spinning toys; rustles of unknown animals in bushes and fields (jack rabbits and cotton tails, I hope); a train horn blasting and the hum of wheels on tracks; gunshots (opening day of dove-hunting season); a plane gliding overhead (a lazy sound); my footsteps on dirt and on gravel; an occasional car going by.
Smells: Moist dust and eau de manure (doesn’t bother me, I’m a country girl).
Feelings: Warm sun on my shoulders and the top of my head; cool breeze on my skin; uneven, solid ground beneath my feet; camera in my hand; overall sense of well-being.
Sights I couldn’t catch on film: Dragonflies with morning sun reflecting off their wings, their shadows on the dirt path, camouflaged when they land. Be still, little ones, so I can take your picture.; black birds startling and flying off in kite-like formations; small white butterflies flicking among wildflowers; colonies of ants, coyotes, jackrabbits, raccoon, and quail.
I get some of my best ideas for writing while walking the farm–right around the third mile, when I start to sweat and my monkey brain loses its grip. The imagined barrier between nature and myself fades and my subconscious–the part of me deeper than reason–breaks through. Time to pull out the index cards that I carry in my fanny pack. I can’t write down all the thoughts shooting at me fast enough, thoughts that disappear as fast as they appear, never to be recovered. Thoughts I don’t even consider mine.
I ran wild on the farm as a kid, full of curiosity and awe. As a teen, I traveled greater distances on horseback and on foot, exploring the woods and swimming in the river on the outskirts of our property. Nature made me come alive; it nurtured my creativity; it kept me sane.
Walking the farm. Are the sense impressions crude and unsightly or powerful antidotes to many of the things that ail us today? Guess you know my answer to that.
If you’re interested, there’s a great book about connecting with nature,called Last Child in the Woods, Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, by Richard Louv.
On the back cover it reads, “Richard Louv directly links the absence of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation to some of the most disturbing childhood trends: the rise in obesity, attention disorders, and depression.”
Just out of curiosity, what is your opinion about exposure to nature?
Is it essential to our physical, mental, and spiritual health?
Is there a practical way to engage with the natural world in your life?
As always, thanks for stopping by.