Saturday, April 16, 2016

Okay, I confess.

Yes, I have a confession to make.  I've never fully escaped from my Henry David Thoreau phase.  I think I've mentioned that phase of my life a few times here in my blog.  Years ago (and for several years) I read some of his works and I decided I wanted to emulate him.  I bought stenographers tablets to take notes, pencils to draw illustrations and eventually; as this project grew I began to add specimens of things I discovered in my neighborhood.

When I first started this project was kind of like being in kindergarten, very 'finger paint' and 'block printing', but by the time I finished years later I had six Steno Notebooks filled with information, artwork and specimens of the marvelous things I discovered in my front/back yards and surrounding neighborhood.  I also had four of the largest binders I could purchase filled with flower, plant and insect specimens all of which bulged at the seams by the time this project was completed.

I dissected flowers and pine cones, studied the life spans of some insects as they went from pupa to adulthood.  Just about every day I looked at things through what I hoped would have been Thoreau's eyes.  I think he once wrote something along the line of 'Most of us see only what we look at, and miss a great deal, to truly see you must perceive that at which you are looking.'  For instance, we look at a Queen Anne's Lace flower and see that it is large, round and creamy white.  But if you take the time to perceive you will see a Queen Anne's Lace flower is flat topped, umbrella like and made up of tiny, lacy clusters of white flowers with one tiny purple flower in the center.  It smells of carrot, which of course, the plant is known to be.  If you follow the flower through its life cycle your will find as it matures the flower browns and curls up into a tight ball so that come August it has a bountiful amount of seeds that will easily propagate the next spring.

Through my Thoreau years I learned that nature is filled with the unusual, the unique, and the surprising yes, from the microscopic to the gigantic Redwood NATURE IS AMAZING. Thoreau came flooding back to me this morning as Zorro and I were walking to my mailbox. I found myself actually seeing the magnificent colors of the Rhododendrons, fiery red, baby blanket pink, and amethyst purple.  I thought of him as I examined seedlings of pines, maples, flowering cherries and fir trees as each one tempted me to uproot and transplant them into pots.  I marveled at the dandelions inching up through cracks in the pavement their sunny yellow flowers smiling up at me.

Yes, I confess, I go a little bonkers when it comes to nature.  I simply can't help myself and I have to thank Thoreau for being such a wonderful teacher, because without his knowledge and love of nature I would still be walking through life looking but not really seeing.

Thanks Henry David.

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