Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Magical Healing Power of Nature

The other day I left my biology class upset after someone made an inappropriate joke that unintentionally targeted me. I got into my car and blasted some angry rap music and drove off a little fast, since of course all of that will make me feel better. Or not. As I drove down the road, I noticed the sun was still shinning and I was about to pass a waterway filled with ducks and geese. I made a last minute decision to turn into the park and take a minute to unwind.

Me feeding ducks at a local park.

As I got out of my car, I was instantly greeted by the setting sun. The golden rays instantly melted away some of my distress. I walked down a pathway along the water and large African geese came up to me talking up a storm, asking for food. They cracked me up and I laughed out loud and told them I had nothing for them but they were adorable. I took a moment to inspect the intricate patterns of their feathers, the colors of their beak, the design of their webbed feet.

A ruddy duck was a great surprise visiting a local park.

Ducks started to quack their way over to me, expecting food. They would then leave after awhile after they discovered I was empty handed. You can tell these little critters are well treated by the community. And they reward people in ways you would not think of.

A family of young rats delighted me with their curiosity.

When I left, I had a smile on my face. This urban wildlife and natural area healed me in ways a conversation with a good friend, or loud angry music could not. They infused me with some peace, tranquility and happiness just by existing and distracting me and reminding me of the splendor in the world. I’ve seen this many times before with myself. I’ll go on a walk, frustrated from something, and a squirrel will unexpectedly pop up, or a unique bird like a kestrel will fly by or some crows will impress me with their intelligence. Suddenly all the bad thoughts in my head will disappear and I will be thinking, “how cute” or “wow” or nothing at all since my head is filled with awe.

I named this little spider Spike. I discovered him on a walk while camping east of The Dalles. His eyes and tiny body amazed me and I fell in love.

This is why I love nature and animals and appreciate what they provide for me without ever asking. This is why it is important to capture this beauty in photographs, protect animals with education and be environmentally conscious in every day life. I appreciate the magic of the natural world and want to share that with everyone.

Northern Pintails swim in some water found in the Columbia Whitetail Deer Wildlife Refuge in Washington.