Collecting Lessons

kate hiking up a rocky mountain with a bright blue sky in the background and a green valley down below

I sat crouched behind a bush, waiting, hoping I was in the right spot. I looked down and saw at my feet a plantain (the plant, not the fruit). It had been chewed all the way down to the center. I smiled imagining the deer that had stood right here having that snack.

Everything eats something.

Sitting on the ridge line, I scanned through every bit of land my eyes could see. In between scanning the same areas again and again, looking for any details I might have missed, I pulled my binoculars down and let my eyes scan over the things that were within arms reach of me. A solitary ant caught my eye as it walked up the log next to me. A few minutes later it walked back down with something in its mouth. A few minutes later, back up again. And again, back down. Over and over.

Everyone has to put in the work in this world.

The hawk land on the treetop. Its eyes far better than mine could ever be, it could see every little thing going on far below. It waited for the opportunity to swoop down and land itself a meal. I marveled at its skill at being a hawk and then thought…

Everyone has a skill, but it needs to be practiced in order to be mastered.

Grateful To Be Learning

Nature is providing me with an abundance of lessons these days. She always does but the lessons are now weaving themselves more deeply into my existence.

Some are skill-based lessons, others are reminders about the way things work in the world. Sometimes, the lesson helps me better understand my place in all of it. And other times, the lesson gives me a fresh perspective on the modern metropolis I’ll be returning to with its highways choked with more traffic than they can handle and supermarkets selling tomatoes in January.

Someone may read that and think, ‘all that just from the trees and the animals?’ I know, here’s all I can say to that – when you build your relationship with anything, you get more from it (and hopefully you give plenty in return.) As my relationship with Nature and my Self deepens, I get more and I give more…

This line from Braiding Sweetgrass captures it, “Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.”

I had the first part. Now I’m getting the second. And wow what a feeling to shift from a relationship that was very clearly “me” and “you” with a separation between the two, to one of “you and me” where I care for you, you care for me, infinitely.

I may not live in the forest, but I am a part of Nature as much as the hawk, the deer, and the plantain. To forget that is to forget who I am.

Views From My Recent Time
Out In Nature

Sunrise above 10,000 feet. When the alarm goes off in the dark and you’ve got sturdy boots on before dawn which you’ll be keeping on till nightfall, you really begin to appreciate things like ‘walking barefoot in your climate-controlled home’.
I’m not big on ‘should’ statements, but more people should go watch the sunset.
These Heather’s Choice packaroons were a new and delightful addition to the day’s calories. This flavor was my second favorite, but we’d already eaten all the Espresso Chocolate ones, which were my first favorite.
I have tried the brands of dehydrated meals that are more “whole foods based”. They are a struggle to get down. And when you need calories, the ability to eat the whole thing beats ‘natural’ every time for me. The Backpacker Pantry meals are very easy to consume. Also, wash your hands.
Speaking of calories, Remi Warren talks about bringing things you know you’ll always look forward to eating. My cookie bars are a guaranteed yes any time of day, so I baked a batch and hauled them up with us. Worth it.

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