My last few posts were to tell you about my experience attending the Children and Nature Network’s annual conference at the Lied Conference Center at the Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City, Nebraska. It was a productive, positive, and to keep the alliteration going, a profound two plus days.
I have reported on and written about and mused about our human connection to what we call nature for many years, but I have seldom witnessed a collection of folks who not only demonstrate their commitment by daily action, but who do so altruistically for they believe with quantifiable evidence that the survival of our culture depends on the acknowledgement of nature as part of us.
For the first time in human history we are in danger of having a generation of youngsters who have never experienced what we call nature, who have never spent quality time in what we affectionately call the “outdoors”.
It is possible, if we keep going the way we are, many children may never hear wild bird calls, sleep in a tent, paddle a canoe, fish, hunt, or understand the myriad of kingdoms that exist within the forest canopy and also under the leaves of the forest floor and how we have a symbiotic relationship in mutual survival.
To me that is a sadness beyond understanding. I share the goals of the Children and Nature Network and hope that every child, young and old, will experience what I do every time I take a walk in the woods.
My walk began at wooded rim, beneath an autumn sky
The morning air was crisp, and dust came from the dry.
I looked around at nature knowing I would find
Her rhythm in a rock, and reason in her rhyme.
I heard it first on the path, walking, slowly not too far.
It faded in and out of mind, like a distant twinkling star.
Then louder came its gentle tone, uniquely humming mild,
When tuning clear to natures sound, your spirit is beguiled.
You know it in the sparkle of a trickling tiara stream
That slides o’er stone and granite bead crowning Gaia queen.
You feel it in the wilting wind with all its names that please,
“Refreshing,” “Cooling,” “Gentle,” special kinds of breeze.
You see it in the flora and the rainbows of the flower,
As blossoms burst with color, in a natural sculptured bower.
You taste it in her breath when fragrance fills the air,
With tiny pollens of her heart, perfumes of scented prayer.
Nature’s essence is profound; her truth comes when you listen,
To the dew that’s on the grass and hear the sunlight glisten.
Squinting crystals in the bright that hide when it is warm,
Returning precious liquid life in shower and in storm.
I found it tiny, on the ground, in trails of hurried ants.
I found it too, among the herbs and healing medicine plants.
I find it often in the trees, amid a darting of delight
As playful fluttering feathered ones put magic in their flight.
There are other things to know, from the silence of her breach,
And heed the wise and warning shrill of the Owl’s casting screech.
Nature’s sound speaks many tongues to tell us there is trouble
For in the print of humankind, the future reeks in rubble.
But on this day, I shall not dwell on the ablutionary bad,
For it would change my wooded walk and make my smile sad.
In all my walks, on many paths, even ones without a tree,
I choose to find the joy of life, for nature lives in me.