Advice from Nature

One of my favorite things to collect from the National Parks are the “Advice from Nature” poems.  We find ones that remind us of a place we explored or an animal we saw, and I find the simplicity of their advice refreshing.  My favorite:

Advice from a TREE

Stand tall and proud
Sink your roots into the Earth
Be content with your natural beauty
Go out on a limb
Drink plenty of water
Remember your roots
Enjoy the view!

~Ilan Shamir

Sometimes you can find the wall-poster size at the National Park Visitor Centers and gift shops, but I usually just pick out the large postcard size.

Cards

They are cheap and frame beautifully!  I frame them with a simple $10 clear frame and a piece of cardstock.

Glacier

They make great wall-hangings for bathrooms and other small places that don’t have the wall-space for a full picture or piece of art.  The kids have also picked out their favorites for their rooms.  Now we have collected enough poems that they are sprinkled all throughout the house, and they remind us of so many of the lessons that we have learned from nature.

cactus edit

In the end, we are all probably inundated with more “friendly” advice than we care to hear in a lifetime, but I find the nature poems calming on those days when I can’t be out in the woods myself,  breathing deeply, and watching the wild things roam by.

This November has been an incredibly busy month for me, and I try to remind myself to just do one thing at a time, and if I can’t get to it, then I can’t.  I’ll leave you with the advice of a sea turtle, an eternally steady animal that reminds me to stay calm under pressure.

turtle edit

What’s your favorite advice for the busy times in your life?  I’d love to hear your input!

Happy Trails.
~Cassie

The Changing of a Season

Why is it so significant?  It happens every year.  Four times a year.   But it’s poetry catches me off-guard… every. single. time.

This weekend my kids were playing in beautiful Drake Park, raking the sun-colored oak leaves into giant piles, while more tumbled down all around them.  And the sunshine glittered through the half-bare branches and alighted the scene with it’s yellow warmth, and the wind sent up flurries of red and gold into the air around them.  It smelled of warm, dry earth and the laughter of kids and the tinkle of bicycles chimed through the air.

Fall

Fall leaves us so brilliantly, one last shining burst of flaming color and warmth to carry into the white canvas of winter.  Today it is snowing.  The winds are gone and it is quiet.  The frost has touched the metal, the stones, the brick, the dirt, and the wet aroma rushes inside when you open the door.  There is already a dusting of white covering every piece of backyard furniture, and I’m watching a family of songbirds scramble to pick every scrap of food that’s left in the cracks between stones.  There are only a last few desperately clinging leaves and an unused batting net standing lonely on the patio to remind me that just yesterday.. it was different.

winter

Nature is Beautiful.

One Bad Apple

A boy scout leader topples rock formations in a state park and lives to laugh about it.

Yes, he’s going to serve his time, but I shudder to think about the damage he’s already done.  Some say it’s just a rock.  Maybe it’s a rock, but it’s also a natural, ancient part of the Earth that incited wonder and beauty and reflection.  What’s more incredible than that?  He is a bully of nature, and did it just because he could.  Without a thought.  Without a care.  Without remorse.

I’m happy to say that the general response by Americans has been outrage and has labeled him as an idiot who unfortunately was misdiagnosed as a troop leader and put in charge of growing young men.  But, it concerns me greatly that he’s not the only careless person who doesn’t think twice before inflicting irreparable damage on our natural places and, perhaps even more importantly, on the growth of our youngest citizens.

If a young person watches you push over a million year old rock, they are going to grow up thinking they can do it too.  If they watch you leave food open at your campsite, or steal petrified wood, or throw rocks in a geyser, or leave litter along the road, or trample delicate growth off a trail, they are going to do it too.  If they watch you laugh at your own carelessness, they are going to laugh too.  If they watch you treat our natural places as if they were disposable, they will do so too.

It’s that simple.

In order to teach our children to be respectful of nature, we have to be so too.  All of us.  After all, it only takes one bad apple to show millions of children how not to be.

Today I leave you with a photo I captured upon walking past a picnic table in Channel Islands National Park last summer.  It seems another brilliant group of people left all their food sitting out while they went touring.  Who found it?  The native Island Fox who has learned to hunt for food in the scraps of humans, instead of in the natural manner that will ensure his long-lasting health.  Another example of how the thoughtless carelessness of visitors can have lasting, permanent, negative effects on the very things we love the most, and are trying to protect.

DSCN0697
2013 – Channel Islands National Park [Santa Cruz Island]

We are constantly being watched by the next generation of park-goers and park-protectors.  Let’s try to set a good example.
~Cassie