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. In between these boundaries, is just enough space for the world to be wild.

Sitting in a large meadow, the back yard for renters, the sun bounces back and forth between horizons, measuring time and all that reside in the middle; the squirrel, the quail, lion, 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 as insects do, whispering noise transitions to a soft song. Four paws gather under bush, wings swoop and collect, little claws bury and dig up. Small citizens of the earth weave harmony under changing cycles. When I go to gather and collect, harmony is lost behind dead smiles in grocery lines, behind irritations never set right. When we go to bury and dig up, it’s called therapy.

As a participant in nature, how do I sing the bird’s song in this place I live- called society where the electric wisp of nature translates into tall glowing street lights. What voice do I use here, here in the meadow- the silent one. Being less here, is being more, perhaps even one day, my footprint will fit into this grassy small space.

Gravity reminds me that 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. The smallest of creatures don’t question, they just do, when trapped by rain, tromped underfoot, they still emerge. See an ant, knock it off it’s path, and it will continue. I continue, I sit and contemplate this, all of our contemplations like a line of ants, and how many ants do I kill in a lifetime.

Nature continues without blushing, so do we, indifferent. Even when we consume more than our share. The snow still falls, stars still shine. The earth is in a great exchange of oxygen and carbon, and we grab a rope to start a game of tug a war, unconcerned with the planet. Regeneration a perpetual motion, nature’s only comfort, and ours. Until it is too late, until the nature of a vampire bat is written on one large human gravestone; the earth.

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 foliage 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 then do I shine like the sun drizzled leaf, does anyone? Do we continualy bud every spring after dormancy, do we all 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 with a touch of warmth, then on display, each crevassed scar, opening once again earth’s rivers. The earth drinks, healing from its wounds. My scars are not fountains of living water, I pump water from the well. I turn on a pipe.

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 the dust we are made. Maybe my dust would do better with a little water, and sun, and growth, to be a part of nature more, as we are, just not so sorted out.

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