I walked over to the kitchen sink below the window to wash my hands. As I flipped the lever of the faucet up, I caught a glimpse of something dark moving on the ground beneath the window. I wasn’t startled at first, as there are always birds outside that window, but as it moved away from the house, the size and darkness of it did startle me. As my eyes grew larger, so did it, till it was fully emerged and exposed. It was a groundhog.
My eyes glued on him, I watched as he moved out away from the house, and moseyed around the front porch and out of sight. I just laughed, then texted my husband. I am sure he would have gotten a lot more excited than I did. He probably would have run to the porch and then followed it around window to window to see just where it was headed. And later I wished I would have thought to do that, but my first thought was my husband. I wanted to share it with him right away.
I did end up going window to window all around the house, looking for the paunchy guy. But he was nowhere to be found. As I looked out the front door, I imagined opening it to find him right on the stoop, then running right into my house, and I would have screamed. So I didn’t open the door.
As I looked out the window to the east, the one that faces my parents’ house and flower garden, I imagined Mr. Groundhog was hiding underneath the window, plastering himself up against the house to avoid my seeing him. Then I imagined that my mother was looking out the window watching him hide from me, but also seeing me looking out my window looking for him. The picture in my mind made me laugh, and I wished that I were a painter, so I could paint that picture. Then I imagined it as an illustration in a children’s story.
We get a lot of nature up close to our house, which is in the country, but rather close to the busy road. I do love our setting and the nature that finds us here.
When I returned to the kitchen, there was a dainty little yellow finch sitting on the finch feeder. I watched him for a bit, and realized that there was a smile upon my face. What a pretty picture he made in his bright yellow feathers against the almost fluorescent green spring grass.
I take nature’s displays very personally. I always make this natural assumption that they are there specifically for me. This may seem to some a silly notion, but I think that nature is there to speak to us – if we even notice it.
My mother and I went on a walk last weekend. She has a broken arm, so we took it a lot slower than our normal walks would have been. And we took some breaks, just standing and looking around. On one of these breaks, we noticed a tree with the upside down V openings at the bottom, where it was hollow, and where you might imagine a squirrel making a house complete with table and chairs and a china cabinet.
“Oh, look at that tree, Mother!” I exclaimed.
She gasped and placed her hand on her chest. “Oh, my gosh. Isn’t that just the most wonderful tree? How have we ever missed that on our walks?”
I had to agree. It had obviously been there for – ever. And we had been taking these walks for years – down the same trails. The difference was that the other times, we were always on a mission, even if the mission was only to get out in nature or to get from point A to point B. And as much as we pride ourselves on being in appreciation of nature while we are in the woods, I guess we were still moving just a little too fast.
My husband and my brother are going to the forest today to look for mushrooms. I hope they remember to stop a few times and let go of the mission and just appreciate nature’s wonder. It is a grounding thing. It brings you back to center and helps you to let go of all that the busy world piles on. Escaping to home, one might call it. Nature is our point of origination.