Some people use January as their time to wipe the slate clean and start fresh to achieve goals and make changes. I prefer March.
For one, ever the procrastinator, I find it’s a handy excuse for those of us who never got around to making New Year’s resolutions. But somehow it feels more natural to ease into resolutions as the world also is embracing change. There’s nothing like watching the pioneering pasque flowers and daffodils push their way out of the earth, despite an occasional dusting of snow, to make one want to try a little harder.
My husband currently is reading the nonfiction book The Adventures of Henry David Thoreau, and I am reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel The Signature of All Things. (Both of us tend to stick to our genres without the slightest desire to switch.) But the similarity that strikes me about both of these books is they each describe how much people used to be in tune with the natural world compared with this day and age. If they weren’t out in it, they were studying it. People’s survival and happiness depended on their ability to observe nature and take solace in it.
As Thoreau reminds us: “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.”
Despite the illusion in today’s age that living well does not necessitate a connection to nature, I think we need it now more than ever. Our proximity to nature is less pronounced. We aren’t in it every day with our screens, our driving, our busy schedules and our exhaustion at the end of the day. Nature is often something we have to schedule into our lives rather than just calmly experience. For me, this is the thing that I want to continue trying to change, for myself and for the community.
Every day is richer when I take a moment to listen to a bird sing. Everything I have to do is less stressful when I close my eyes for a heartbeat and listen to the wind blowing in the trees. Everything is put into perspective when I notice the small changes that spring gradually brings. Nature in our lives doesn’t have to be an epic adventure; it can be like the consistency of a good friend that must be acknowledged daily amid the bustle.
We can give ourselves the gift of nature by noticing. We can give our kids this gift by being an example. With spring comes rebirth and change. Strive to blend into the season and blossom along with flowers around you. Nature is an excellent teacher.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 382-9244. Sally Shuffield is executive director of Durango Nature Studies.