“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
-Henry David Thoreau
I hike everyday. Anyone who knows me will tell you I can sniff out nature. If there is wildness nearby, I will find it and take great pleasure in exploring it. The natural world is my passport to peace and fulfillment. I don’t get the same feeling from anything else.
What a blessing it is that we are privy to the wild world with our presence and observations. I think we aren’t in this kind of awesome wonder often enough. With our busy lives, our stresses, our devices and our demands, it’s easy to be far from nature.
I don’t know about you, but I am drawn to the trees that clean our air and the animals that keep our precious ecosystems healthy. I love the bugs, the birds, and the bees who have such perfect order in the world, their connection to the land entirely seamless. I don’t ever want to know a life where I can’t witness these relationships—if only for the simple act of radiating gratitude for them, to them. Nature provides joy by just being. How many of us can say that?
On my daily walks there are many moments of awe, even if the path is the same. Nature provides a constant renewal of interest because everything it does matters. Each life in the natural world feeds another. It’s amazing to me how similar we truly are to this, yet somehow we don’t give our decisions the same weight. What if we woke up every day as nature does and said to ourselves, “EVERYTHING I will do today matters….”
Would we live differently?
Everything I consume, everything I support, every word that leaves my mouth… it feeds another. Or doesn’t. Would we do it differently?
Birds of prey teach me so much about these very dilemmas. I have a deeply profound respect for these predators. The very sight of them is humbling to me. I suppose their connection to the skies and the land is so ancient and spiritual, it’s hard to ignore.
Although their might and beauty are breathtaking, something else about them gives me the most pause: their sight.
How special is it that the entirety of theirs depends on the level at which they can see the world. That world provides them with food, socialization, hierarchy, nesting opportunities and warns them of danger. What keeps them alive, and thriving, is seeing from the highest perspective possible. Their very lives—and the survival of the species—depend on it.
I never saw my life as the same after being in their presence. I didn’t realize I could tie all my moments of frustration or unhappiness to my lack of perspective. To rise above the everyday minutia gets us what we want; in fact, what we need.
A bird’s eye view can change your life forever.
On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, I didn’t want to focus on anything overwhelming—where our planet is headed, how we have hurt it, where we are going from here. These things are ALL a legitimate concern. But what I really wanted to ask was more personal and like everything worth igniting, it starts with us. What heights are we seeing our choices from and is it high enough? Do we truly know that EVERY choice we make matters? Most importantly, will we choose our planet over ourselves? And will we do it because we understand we are one and the same?
The only separation between ourselves and this planet we call home is our perception.
Happy Earth Day!