If I had a blog, today I would write about revelations on my morning walk.
It’s a dangerous thing, submitting to the ministrations of Nature. When such a pact is made, just stepping out your front door can have dire consequences. When I hide indoors for a long period of time, I begin to grow arrogant, building a belief system that says I know things, I comprehend the width and breadth of the Universe and have a firm grasp on the order of things. I become jaded and tell myself there is no need to get out in the heat, that I have seen forty-seven Missouri summers and I have seen it all, done it all, felt it all. Then, I go on a morning walk and I am remade.
The valley was full of fog this morning. We’ve had rain showers off and on this week and the air is heavy with moisture. Mom, Gus and I walked down to the river valley again and once we left the barn lot, we descended into a world of pale pink mist where every blade of grass sparkled with drops of dew.
This time of year, the main activity in the woods and fields is that of tiny spiders. Their species are many and they create a world of intricate webs through which we pass wherever we go. The most prolific are the orb-weavers: Minute, triangle-shaped spiders who weave beautiful round webs that cross our woodland path and that hang glimmering on the taller grasses in the fields. There are other weavers too: The pasture roses are draped with long festoons of web that hang like strands of diamonds in the dewy morn. Still other spiders make broad, thick mats of web along the ground, complete with little tunnels in which their creators hide. This morning, every gossamer thread was alive with color in the soft, misty light.
Coming back from the river, the sun had emerged from the fog and was beginning to heat the earth. Although it was nice to have the heat on our backs, not our faces, I noticed our world of webs had disappeared from sight. I knew they existed as the had just half-an-hour before, but that rare moment of misty morning light had passed, and with it, our moment of epiphany.
To experience the rapture of Nature, you have to be out there come rain or shine. The beauty of the natural world does not appear for our benefit, we must be present when the miracle happens, and miracles are happening every day. No matter how long I live in this little valley, there will always be something new, something rare and wonderful waiting for me if I will set aside my cynicism and get out in The Wild.
Naturalist John Muir knew the truth of these things. In the early part of the century he wrote, “I used to envy the father of our race, dwelling as he did in contact with the new-made fields and plants of Eden; but I do so no more, because I have discovered that I also live in ‘creation’s dawn.’ The morning stars still sing together, and the world, not yet half-made, becomes more beautiful every day.“
I must read this quote each morning when I rise. I must remember that I haven’t seen it all. I must remember that all I have to do is step out the front door and walk into the light of the rising sun.