“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
“In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.”
~ ~ Theodore Roosevelt
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Birds have wings; they’re free; they can fly where they want when they want. They have the kind of mobility many people envy.
Roger Tory Peterson
“The attention of a traveler, should be particularly turned, in the first place, to the various works of Nature, to mark the distinctions of the climates he may explore, and to offer such useful observations on the different productions as may occur.”
~ ~ William Bartram ~ ~
Saguaro National Park (East), Arizona
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home.” ~ John Muir
Canadian Rocky’s, Alberta
This is my first “Sunday Reflections” and it is only fitting that my first quote comes from an individual that has inspired my heart and my love of nature. As an avid supporter of the National Park Service it understandable that John Muir would be that champion to all who desire to connect with the natural world. We all need the beauty of nature to heal our hearts and souls and for this reason this is one of my favorite quotes. Unfortunately I’ve never been to Yosemite so his beloved Sierra Nevada’s will have to do.
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. ~~ John Muir