Musings of a roaming nature nerd

Archive for December, 2013

Autumn Mind


During my weekend of introspective, psychoanalytic, nature reflection I also came upon these thoughts, which while more personal in one way are also an objective way to analyze my natural tendencies for sadness. First I learned to recognize that it is okay to feel sad when plans go awry and friends and family are miles away. Secondly I discovered that my mind is like autumn. While autumn brings bright color and clean air and subdued beauty, underlying the season is the inevitability and melancholy of coming cold and darkness and eerie stillness.
I now realize this is how my brain works. I am perpetually in autumn. I see and appreciate and am fascinated by the world around me but there exists a perpetual loneliness and lingering sadness. I’ve often wondered if my nature indicates a happy person battling with melancholy tendencies or a subdued person who knows to recognize joy and smile at it when it comes along. I’m not sure, but what I started to learn is how to tease apart the lingering from the circumstantial sadness. Together they are unbearable, but differentiating between them is like learning to separate the natural falling of the leaves from the actual death of a tree. Both occur naturally, just as my mind forms emotions natural to me, but one simply passes as a minor event while the other looms large, but for a distant time. My mind was full of falling leaves this weekend but through patient thought, thankfulness and the healing ability to consider the world through metaphor, the long shadows of my autumn mind hide less darkness and instead bring depth and perspective to my inner world.



Spending the 150th anniversary of Thanksgiving (and my favorite holiday!) alone and sick is not what I anticipated this year. After a joyful reunion with my new heart-home, the Grand Canyon, I planned to spend one more weekend with my love in the southern desert, before returning here for the winter. Alas, like nature, the cold virus is unpredictable and I went down hard. Finding myself with generous amounts of quiet time, I allowed myself to partake in a favorite hobby of sorts: introspective, psychoanalytic, nature reflection. And I share these reflections in two different blog entries.
Two weeks ago I was reunited with several friends here at the canyon and one of them, Gaby, helped me learn a new way of giving thanks; thanks to the earth, the sky, the two-legged ones, the four-legged ones, and many other elements and creatures of this world. I realized that while expressing thanks for friends and family, for living in this beautiful country and enjoying a comfortable life, I rarely reflect on true thankfulness outside of this norm. Not being a religious person I do not chalk up life’s mysteries to a great spirit but I do believe that expressing thankfulness and gratefulness to the world helps bring us together and see the good in each other. To honor that thought, I found my weekend reflections turning to what Gaby shared with me.
I offer thanks to the Earth, with a capital E, for being so rich with life and beauty and culture that it has to be the best damn ride through the solar system we could ever have!
I offer thanks to the sky for producing rain and snow which freeze and then thaw in rock cracks on the ground, producing ice-wedging, and thereby eroding the Grand Canyon into the magnificent feature that it is today.
I offer thanks to the two-legged ones in the form of my grandmothers. One has been gone for almost 20 years and the other lives 2000 miles away, but both have always been a constant source of support and love throughout my life.
I offer thanks to the four-legged ones in the form of moose. These seemingly prehistoric creatures intrigued me from my first New Hampshire sightings years ago. Their solitary nature, their ability to eat 3% of their body weight every day (as someone who loves to eat I enjoy this in particular), their adaptation to winter so that they don’t feel cold until temperatures drop to about -30F, their tendencies to roam and disappear undetected, and their ability to hold their breath while eating vegetation at the bottom of ponds impresses me to no end.
I offer thanks to the winged-ones in the form of Least Bells Vireos. Not only does their existence provide me with regular employment, but they are feisty and spirited and secretive which resonates with me. I am also thankful that as an endangered bird they have been making a come back in part through habitat rehabilitation and protection.
I also lastly want to offer thanks to the moon, without which there would be no tides, and without which I never would have discovered the beauty of illuminated nighttime walks at the ocean with my someday-husband 14 years ago.
We all have more to be thankful for on a day to day basis than we realize. Heading into the hectic season of consumerism and distractions, simple reflection on true thankfulness regrounds me. What are you thankful for? What makes your world spin?