(Image Credit: THINKSTOCK)
I was perched on a rock just hovering the edge of the lake. There was no one within sight.
I had just run the few miles it takes to get to the giant natural pool of water, and due to high temperatures and a slight lack of fitness, I was beyond overjoyed when I saw the blue water glistening through the trees. I immediately jumped in and swam around beneath the giant mountains above me. Admittedly, I was slightly shocked at the cold temperature, but quickly became comfortable. I then found the perfect rock to post up on while my drenched dreadlock-looking hair dried off.
I was perched on a rock just hovering the edge of the lake. There was no one within sight. I was sitting in silence and awe as I stared up at the mountains surrounding me. Even after 3.5 years, I am still speechless when it comes to my surroundings.
As I was crouched there, still drenched (looking like Gollum from lord of the rings I am sure), I heard a wave of sound from behind me. Being an avian enthusiast (as well as research technician for many years) I was excited to see what was about to pass over me. To my surprise, it did not pass over me, but instead, a giant raven landed on a stump no more than two feet from where I myself was perched, and at almost exact eye level. I kept still, and we stared at each other for almost five minutes. No movement from either one of us. His eyes were dark and glassy. So much so that I could see the reflection of the lake from within his right eye. I was connected to the natural world for those few minutes in a way that I have never been before. I felt at home. I felt calm. I felt happy.
It was not until a sparrow flew out of a nearby tree that the raven chose to set flight and disappear into the forest. Once he left, I continued to sit on that same rock, just happy to have experienced that one moment.
The natural world is absolutely fascinating. The more I feel connected to it, the more I feel myself. There is nothing else in my life that I have found makes me feel so at peace that being in nature and having those experiences. Experiences that no one knows about, ones that cannot be recorded on film, ones that may last only a few seconds. Those experiences humble me, and remind me why it is that I chose to live in such a beautiful location. Putting yourself in the middle of the wilderness, and having those experiences are true reminders of how important the little things are. Next time you go for a walk in the woods, stop every so often to listen. We are such a small part of this world. Let the forest and the mountains humble you.
If you ever have a chance and have not already, pick up one of Bernd Heinrich’s books. Ravens in Winter, Mind of the Raven, Winter World, Summer World, Why We Run…all great reads.
“We then try to justify what we do by trying to make it sound as if it has some “useful” application. But, really, we do it because it is fun. Nature is entertainment-the greatest show on earth. And that is not trivial, because what is life, if it isn’t fun? I think that the greatest contribution we could make would be to help make life more interesting.” –Bernd Heinrich, Ravens In Winter
“We are social animals. We like to feel a part of something of beauty and power that transcends our insignificance. It can be a religion, a political party, a ball club. Why not also Nature? I feel a strong identity with the world of living things. I was born into it; we all were. But we may not feel the ties unless we gain intimacy by seeing, feeling, smelling, touching and studying the natural world. ..” -Bernd Heinrich, One Man’s Owl