16 October 2007

Observing what surrounds you

Many throughout the bloguniverse yesterday were posting on the environment. Whether it was a deep-seated desire not to be part of the crowd, procrastination, or just no motivation to write much yesterday, I'm a day late with this post. But, I'm not going to preach about how we should be green, or give 50 helpful ways in which you can aid the environment, or write about the geopolitical implications of drought in developing countries. Not that those aren't worthy topics, but you can read about them elsewhere from more authoritative sources.

What I will write about, though, is being aware of the natural world that surrounds us.

Last week I sat for awhile on a bench at 'Lettuce Lake' at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, an Audubon Society sacntuary near Naples, Florida. At first I was a little disappointed when I arrived. I've never been to Corkscrew at this time of the year. I expected it to be lush. But it took me a few minutes to realize that what I expected was not lush, but colorful. There was not an abundance of different colors; there was an abundance of green.

It's the end of the rainy season. The water level in the swamp was higher than when I've been there in other seasons, although it is clearly nowhere near high levels. Typically, at Corkscrew I see lots of birds, flowers, and an alligator or two. There are spiders, and snakes, bugs, and other little critters that scamper through the cypress swamp.

At first it seemed that the swamp was very quiet. There were few birds nearby, although I could hear them, and saw several fly overhead. I closed my eyes to listen to the variety of sounds throughout the quiet place. Slowly I was able to distinguish the different calls, chirps, and sounds of the swamp. The animals were there, but apparently it's when it's drier that they tend to congregate more in one place. When there is more water, there are more places for life to spread out. And with the plant growth, there were more places to hide.

I have an acquaintance who claims to abhor nature. I'm not sure what that means. Nature is all around us, even in cities. But we tend to ignore it in the everyday. I went to the swamp expecting nature to put on a show for me, to present its colorful panorama for my enjoyment. But life is not like that.

The natural world exists without regard for us. Too often we exist without regard for the it. Close your eyes today for a few minutes and listen to the sounds around you. Open your eyes today and see what is there. If we did this more often, if we were more aware of and had more respect for the cycles of life that go on without us, then I think there would be less need to teach (or preach) about the care of the environment and our unwitting and sometimes selfish impact upon it.

Here are a few of the photos I took last week, at the swamp and at the shore:


Dorothy W. said...

I love the way nature is unpredictable and, as you say, exists without regard for us -- you never know what you will find, whether you will have an adventure or not. It makes walking into the woods, for example, always something new.

pmousse said...

The heron photo is quite stunning.