The Separate Life of Nature

Nature is a different world, from our cars, our houses, our ambitions. Noise. Vibration. On one side of me, I hear engines speeding down the highway. On the other side, there is a workshop- a wood shop, I hear the saws, but in between these is just enough space for the world to be wild.

Sitting in a large meadow, a back yard for renters, the sun bounces back and forth between horizons. Time hangs over what resides in the middle; the squirrel, the quail, me, the human. Here I am, and how have I adapted in nature, as good as the millipede, the blue jay, the gopher? No.

Trees chatter, grounds hum, noise transitions to a soft song. Four paws gather, wings fly and collect, little claws bury, and dig up. Small citizens of the earth weave harmony in its changing cycles. When I go to gather and collect, harmony is lost behind dead smiles, behind irritations never set right. When I go to bury and dig up, it entails therapy.

As a participant in nature, how do I sing the bird’s song- in this place I live called, society, and if a quest in nature, the electric buzz of insect wings translates into tall glowing street lights. What voice do I use here, here in the meadow- the silent one.

Gravity reminds me the earth moves along an axis. Not too far, not too close, and too mysterious for billions of inhabitants to understand. We take on the knowledge of nature, shown through earth’s forces, and us in our libraries.

Plants are inevitable, grasslands indispensable. All is sorted out in rotating seasons. Insects don’t question, they just do, when trapped by rain, or tromped underfoot, they emerge. Try and knock it off it’s path and it will continue. I continue, I sit and contemplate this, how far do all the contemplations go.

Nature continues without blushing, so do we, indifferent. Snow still falls, stars still shine. We still consume more than our share. The earth is in a great exchange of oxygen and carbon, a game of tug a war with such careless unconcern for the planet. Regeneration a perpetual motion, nature’s only comfort.

Nature can live without me, yet I am bound to its resources, bound but not one with it, as much as I would like to be. Even if I dress myself with leaves and live in a cave, I am needy, ultimately building more; the house, the car, the job, and all the luxuries that make a rich modern life. Nature wants for nothing, but the sun and rain.

The ease in which nature survives is forgiving, not like the struggle we have; neighbor against neighbor, segregation, great debates. Nature can split itself in two and exists more beautifully than before. It endures without complaint, replenishing in continual change. We exhaust our surroundings. We talk, but do not do. We do not.

If life was in slow motion, people walking to and fro, in and out, stopping, waiting, standing, staring at the phone. There would be nothing to tell. Significance trumped by all the extra nothings, and no one stopping to smell the roses. Nature, dies and lives again all in twelve months.

Decay and freezing temperatures form ecosystems. What grows out of my decay, my hard ground? Nothing natural and easy, but forced decisions, the tempering of character, and do I really glisten like the sun drizzled leaf, does anyone, to bud after a dormant season, don’t we all adapt, adapt to our environments well enough? It’s not yes, or no. It’s not as simple as nature.

Nature reveals ancient secrets when the frost loosens its hold, a touch of warmth, on display, each crevassed scar, opening once again to earth’s rivers. The earth drinks, healing from its own wounds. My scars are not fountains of living water, I pump water from the well in my backyard, given by the earth.

Enclosed in nature’s dome, I can touch what I see, think on what isn’t tangible, but outside of my visual perimeters, outside of the four walls of a concept, nature stirs in ways I do not know. I have not seen. Even though I am informed, no one can tell me about the great deep, despite the magnification of lenses.

In my heart, there is a reflection, not unlike nature. I see the brook, a tree, a mountain, but only as metaphors for my utter humanity, distant and disconnected from what I’m made out of- dust. Maybe my dust would do better with a little water and sun. Embracing the storm, smiling while perched in line, giving bravely, letting my heart melt, emerging from underfoot, or wintering the dormancy with a secret; a bright new leaf come spring, even if it’s not due season, even if it’s not all sorted out.

3 thoughts on “The Separate Life of Nature

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