I often go jogging on weekend mornings with my good friend Dave. A couple of Sunday mornings ago, I was at William Pond Park, a few miles away from where I live and along the American River (and as it happens, the starting point for the American Parkway Half Marathon, which I have completed two times). As I was waiting for Dave to arrive, I noticed the morning light on the grass and through the trees. Inspired by this (and also by the fact that I’m taking a class where I am being encouraged to take lots of pictures), I took out my phone, and the picture above was the result.
Looking at that picture today, I was struck again by that moment at the park. It seemed there was a special light about things. It was still cool out, the sun hadn’t yet come out and imposed its solar swagger on the land. There were still dew drops on the grass.
I was grateful to be out there. It’s one reason I’m very glad to be a runner (I wrote about being a runner here, in my first manifestation of this blog… Warning: there is some colorful language in this post, and liberal use of a word that rhymes with “muck”). I’m also glad to be a runner because it gets me outside! Going outside is such a blessing. I believe we humans were built to be outside. After all, we are animals (last time I checked). Our modern existence, with its vast array of human-made structures and systems, can sometimes hide the very thing we came from: nature.
I’m not trying to lament modern existence: in fact, it is what allows me to type this post right now for you to read. Instead, I want to use this post to take a moment to celebrate nature. Nature is the sky, and the sun, and the trees, and the bluebirds, and the redbirds, and the yellowbirds, and all the birds and all the bees.
And nature is us. As I wrote in my post on backpacking in Yosemite a few years ago, there is something deep and profound about being in nature. It reminds you of the true rhythms of life. In our modern day existence, with its boxes and buildings and connectivity to the vast man-made world of the internet, we are constantly interacting with a human-created world. The constructs of human society have a tendency to shift and change based on a myriad of complex human factors, including: fashion, available technology, the ambitions of others, and the powerful imaginations of others, which can and do think up brand new realities and possibilities that are continually re-shaping how we live. While this is truly wonderful and magical, it can be fickle, even overwhelming, as all the strings of modern existence are pulled by its millions of contributors. The tempting sights and sounds that clamor for our attention (in advertising, cell phones, and social media, to name a few) can sometimes seem like an endless rabbit hole of flux, as today’s fashions and technological crazes soon become outdated and forgotten.
Nature follows its own laws, laws that were not created by us, namely the laws of gravity, physics, and attraction. It doesn’t just make up rules (as far as I know). It doesn’t change with fashion. The micro-chip hasn’t made it less cool or relevant. It is “reality.” It has been here since before we were here, and it will be here after we are gone.
I like being reminded of this now and again. That Sunday morning, as I saw the geese walking on the grass and the morning sunlight shining diagonally through the trees, I appreciated the experience of beauty that wasn’t concocted by another person, but instead was the result of my senses interacting with nature.
Sometimes it’s good to unplug from this vast human network of made up things, and experience the same timelessness that created us in the first place. 🙂