Just being surrounded by bountiful nature, rejuvenates and inspires us.
E. O. Wilson
I had the privilege last week of experiencing the trails at several of Tennessee’s state parks.
(A shout out to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation: Tennessee’s 56 state parks have no entry fee. They are well run by friendly, knowledgeable staff and volunteers.)
On one of those trails, I spotted a deer foraging not far away.
I quietly took out my camera and moved carefully in position for a better angle.
The resulting image will not become wall art. It’s the photographic equivalent of “catch and release,” a record of my close encounter with this deer.
While I was watching for the opportunity for a better shot, a thirtysomething man comes around the corner with his earbuds in, unaware and uninterested in the object of my pursuit.
Eventually, the deer moved on, and so did I.
Not far down the trail, three red-headed woodpeckers swooped in and perched on the side of some trees.
I could hear behind me the voices of a couple making plans for what they were doing later.
The birds flew off, and the couple smiled and nodded as they walked by still engrossed in their conversation.
As I put away my camera, I thought that these individuals could have been walking on a paved path somewhere in suburbia or even on a track in a gym.
The first guy was there to get some exercise.
And that’s a good thing.
We all could use more exercise, especially after the pandemic. The benefits of somewhat strenuous exercise are enormous, both physically and mentally.
The couple was also there for exercise but mostly for connecting and strengthening their relationship.
Again, worthy goals.
But nature has much more to offer.
According to William Blake, it is possible
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
There seems to be something transcendent in nature. It takes us out of our immediate concerns and reconnects us with a sense of wonder — an awareness of a richer and nobler world.
It helps us to see from a new perspective.
Some of the things that seemed so important fade away. Other things, lost in our jumbled anxieties, emerge as critically important.
You may not have the opportunity to explore the trails in a state park, but nature is all around you.
Make some time today to get away and get lost in the wonder of our natural world.
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