My mother often tells the story of when I was a little girl. It was the dead of winter and although I have heard it many times, I cannot remember how old I was. Three? Maybe four? She tells the story of how she was outside with me for hours and she was chilled to the bone and yet I never wanted to come inside. After she could stay out no longer she brought me in where I would cry my little heart out, still dressed in my snow suit, and lie in the back porch, just wishing to be back outside in the snow. Skip ahead forty years later and the same story can still be told except now I can stay out longer if I want to.
I am a winter person. Always have been, always will be. I love it when the temperatures drift below freezing. I check the weather forecast and hope for snow.
How else can you tell which little animals have visited your yard as you slumbered? Did a coyote run nearby or a deer walk past the driveway? I recall, when I lived in Northern Alberta for one winter, the wonder I felt walking to the post box following in the footsteps of a mule deer who had passed this very way just a few hours ago. Or did a squirrel try to steal seed from the bird feeder even though you left hazelnuts out in a pile in the back yard?
These familiar mouse tracks leading up to the pile of seeds that someone left behind (shh!) and then leading into the garage door. Oops. We won't tell Daddy.
Recently we have been doing a lot more hiking. The snow has been minimal but the temperatures are well above normal. This makes for warm windy days and much more time outside in the natural world.
We are fortunate enough to live on the outskirts of a small prairie town. Just a few steps to the open fields and tree stands. We live a short 15 minute drive to a Provincial Park with nature trails, a beach and some nice canoeing waters. Its the getting dressed and getting out there which is the hardest part but when we do... its just the best!
We do things we've never done. We see things we've never seen. We experience the joy of the natural world. In the book I have been reading for months now (Meditations from the Mat) the author, who is now a Christian Yogi says that if the God of your childhood doesn't work for you anymore, find a new God. In my time communing with Nature I have found my god.
And this year my intention for communing with my god is to visit often, even when I don't feel like making the effort. It is always worth it and I am always glad I went out. My hope is to pass this spiritual experience on to my little girl. I want to show her the wonder of a beautiful sunrise. I want her to hear the melody of birdsong and wonder at the way the seasons change. So far I think it is working. She can find joy in the simple things.
In contrast to this overstimulated, over consuming, over everything world we live in, I choose to honor this love of the outdoors that lives inside me. I will notice the little things. I will be attentive to the subtle shift of light that changes with the seasons. I intend to appreciate that which is right in front of me if I will just be still and notice.
And here is a cow. Just because I thought her cute.