“A good roast of sun, it slows you, lets you relax–and out here if there’s anything wrong, you can see it coming with bags of time to do what’s next. This is the place and the weather for peace, for the cultivation of a friendly mind.”
A L Kennedy
Holland State Park, Michigan
“At a certain point, you say to the woods, to the sea, to the mountains, the world, Now I am ready. Now I will stop and be wholly attentive. You empty yourself and wait, listening. After a time you hear it: there is nothing there. There is nothing but those things only, those created objects, discrete, growing or holding, or swaying, being rained on or raining, held, flooding or ebbing, standing, or spread. You feel the world’s word as a tension, a hum, a single chorused note everywhere the same. This is it: this hum is the silence. Nature does utter a peep – just this one. The birds and insects, the meadows and swamps and rivers and stones and mountains and clouds: they all do it; they all don’t do it. There is a vibrancy to the silence, a suppression, as if someone were gagging the world. But you wait, you give your life’s length to listening, and nothing happens. The ice rolls up, the ice rolls back, and still that single note obtains. The tension, or lack of it, is intolerable. The silence is not actually suppression: instead, it is all there is.”
Cypress Swamp, Natchez Trace National Parkway, Mississippi
The elk that you glimpse in the summer, those at the forest edge, are survivors of winter, only the strongest. You see one just before dusk that summer, standing at the perimeter of the meadow so it can step back to the forest and vanish. You can’t help imagining the still, frozen nights behind it, so cold that the slightest motion is monumental. I have found their bodies, half drifted over in snow, no sign of animal attack or injury. Just toppled over one night with ice working into their lungs. You wouldn’t want to stand outside for more than a few minutes in that kind of weather. If you lived through only one of those winters the way this elk has, you would write books about it. You would become a shaman. You would be forever changed. That elk from the winter stands there on the summer evening, watching from beside the forest. It keeps its story to itself.
West Thumb, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.”
Mormon Row, Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming
Many of Nature’s finest lessons are to be found in her storms, and if careful to keep in right relations with them, we may go safely abroad with them, rejoicing in the grandeur and beauty of their works and ways.
~ ~ John Muir
Talk of mysteries! — Think of our life in nature, — daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it, — rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! The solid earth! the actual world! the common sense! Contact! Contact! Who are we? where are we?
Henry David Thoreau
Broke Leg Falls, Kentucky
“The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom.”
Theodore Roosevelt’s Maltese Cross Cabin
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
Before he became president, Teddy Roosevelt spent a few years living in this small cabin with the most spectacular view.
If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either.
~ ~ Joseph Wood Krutch ~ ~
Buffalo Bill Reservoir, Wyoming
“Thank God I have seen an orange sky with purple clouds. How easy it is to forget that we have the privilege of living in God’s art gallery.”
~ ~ Erica Goros
The world’s big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.
~ ~ John Muir