A Study of Nature: Curiosity Begets Unity
The Little Scavenger
I just wanted to share something that I witnessed at my work one night.
Whenever I could steal a moment away, I went outside to enjoy the night air. I began to notice this little squirrel going up and down a tree. With more thievery of time throughout the night I would hear it rummaging through the bushes. I'd spy the little scavenger, it's mouth full of leaves and twigs, climbing up near the top of the tree to deposit it's booty into the crook of three separating branches.
Each time I went outside the collage of twigs and leaves grew and formed into something practical. It was a nest. I guess I never thought that squirrels built nests. I am not sure of the purpose (maybe for storage, maybe for babies); I just know that it was so inspiring to witness this act of nature. My eyes welled with tears and I don't know why. Sometimes, when I see something so beautifully simple yet complex, I get so awed by it that I am overwhelmed with emotion.
I was on vacation with my family in Red River, NM a few years ago. I went out alone one afternoon on a hike, just wanting a little alone time in the woods. You know...to be one with nature like some Aborigine on a walkabout.
While hiking around the base of a mountain I kept looking up, wondering what the view looked like from the summit. My curiosity got the best of me and I started my trek up. This jaunt seemed to take forever and I was out of breath due to the lower oxygen. I was completly exhausted. Every time I thought I was nearing the apex I would look up to see more mountain but I could not turn back. I was determined to reach the summit.
On the Summit
Triumphant, I finally reached the last berm. As I crested the mound I was quite suprised to be gazing at a herd of bulls just feet away. I stopped, cautiously eyeing them to see if they were angry at me for interloping on their grazing land. They looked at me with no anger in their eyes, almost as if I were just one of the clan.
Trusting them, I turned around to look out at the scenery. It was more beautiful than I imagined. With my own eyes, I stared at the majestic beauty of Mother Earth. I wept openly at the sight. The bulls paid no mind to my tears; they went about munching on the grass.
At the time, I wished I had a camera to capture what I was seeing but now I am glad I didn't. A picture wouldn't do it justice, and in fact, may tarnish the memory in my mind. Some things you just have to see with your own eyes, hold it in your memory and keep it there so you can not only see it but also feel it. It is the feeling of that scenery that I remember most and will treasure forever.
I sat down to soak it all in, my new bovine friends accepting of me as I made myself at home. I don't know how long I sat there. Time did not matter. When I finally did rise to leave, I turned to my companions and bid them a sorrowful farewell and started my long descent down.
Going down wasn't anywhere near as fulfilling as going up. I was sad to leave.
Nature is a beautiful thing. From the simple observation of a tiny squirrel building a nest, to the awe-inspiring view from a mountaintop; the majesty of nature is humbling.
In this modern world, too few of us reflect on these wonders. We as humans need to stop and observe. Study an anthill one day, watch a thunderstorm, gaze at the stars. Take it all in and know that this world was not built for us. We do not rule this world but share it. As relatively new tenants we need to be respectful.
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